CINCINNATI -- Reds starting pitcher Edinson Volquez, who is trying to return from August Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, will begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment Saturday. Volquez will start for Class A Lynchburg vs. Potomac and is expected to throw around 50 pitches.Not expected back until late July or August, Volquez has been pitching in extended spring games at the Reds' complex in Goodyear, Ariz. On Monday, his 50-game suspension for a positive test of a performance-enhancing drug will end. In other injury news, lefty reliever Bill Bray is also with Lynchburg as he works his way back from 2009 Tommy John surgery. Bray has pitched in two games and worked three scoreless innings.
Masset trying to work through struggles
CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Nick Masset is aware of the booing he's heard from fans lately. He also knows he's dug himself into a hole that's deep enough to be in the old and abandoned Cincinnati subway system."Sometimes when you're getting yourself into ruts or putting yourself in bad situations, you try to do too much instead of less to get better results," Masset said Wednesday. He gave up a pair of two-out runs in the eighth inning during Tuesday's 3-0 loss to the Giants. Masset has a 7.20 ERA through 31 games, entering Wednesday night with 35 hits, 16 walks and 20 earned runs allowed over 25 innings. His earned runs allowed is equal to the full-season total from 2009 -- when the right-hander pitched 76 innings over 74 games. In 2009, Masset was 5-1 with a 2.37 ERA, with 54 hits and 24 walks. "We all know it's been a roller coaster," Masset said of his 2010 season. "I've had a lot of good ones and as many as the bad ones. The numbers don't look like that. It is what it is. I'm out there working hard, looking at video, doing extra work on the mound and trying to find that right feel. I know it's there. I know it's going to get better." Masset has displayed top-end velocity in the 95-97 mph range and his arm is healthy. But he's missed badly at times with location and hasn't consistently been able to put out fires like last season. And in some outings, like Tuesday's, he has started his own trouble. With the 27-year-old Masset signed to a two-year, $2.58 million contract in the offseason and out of options, there is no alternative for the Reds other than to keep using Masset and letting him work himself back to form. The club has also shown no indication of moving him out of the eighth-inning setup role. "I know that everyone here believes in me," Masset said. "I can't say enough about the support everyone has given me. They've had my back no matter what. That means Dusty [Baker], my pitching coach [Bryan Price], my teammates and the bullpen mates. It means a lot. We have a strong competitive team camaraderie and unity. Everyone is rooting for each other. This is probably the best clubhouse I've been in."
Baker plans no bullpen changes
CINCINNATI -- The Reds bullpen entered Wednesday ranked 14th in the National League with a 4.87 ERA. Only 40-year-old lefty Arthur Rhodes has been lights-out all season, while others have battled inconsistency. That was on full display in Tuesday's loss to the Giants -- when Logan Ondrusek, Nick Masset and Enerio Del Rosario each put at least two runners on base over the final three innings.Manager Dusty Baker was asked if he'd consider giving long reliever Micah Owings more chances in the late innings. "Who would be your extra-inning long man if we moved him to the back?" Baker said. "Micah has been throwing the ball well but sometimes has trouble with command, too. Do you move everybody around or do you try to fix the people that are supposed to be in that situation? Move everyone around and you have total chaos." Baker determined a way to help the bullpen through tough times. "One thing I've thought about," Baker said, "until we get everybody together, how about we score a bunch of runs? Score and keep scoring."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.