GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Reds reliever Nick Masset's return to action was about as neat and clean as it could get.

It was three up, three down and six pitches for Masset in the fifth inning against the White Sox in his first outing since March 7. The right-handed setup man had been out because of a sore shoulder.

"Typically, your job is to get strikes early and get ahead and get outs as quick as you can," Masset said. "That's the way it worked out. I didn't get to work as many pitches as I wanted to work and get it going. But I got three outs and it was a clean inning."

Masset is scheduled to pitch again on Thursday against the Rangers.

Spring results not a barometer for Ludwick

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Through 12 games this spring, new Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick has a .222 batting average. That is of little consequence to Ludwick, however.

"If you start getting caught up in results the first couple of weeks of Spring Training, you throw yourself into a whirlwind," Ludwick said on Monday before he went 0-for-1 off the bench against the White Sox.

The Reds signed Ludwick to a one-year, $2.5 million contract in January to share left field with Chris Heisey. Neither hitter has tore it up this spring, but Ludwick believes he is on track to where he needs to be with two weeks left in camp.

"I felt like when I got to camp, I was really good early. Then games started, I searched for my timing," Ludwick said. "I got off to a slow start. I am mixing in a hit here and there pretty much every game the last five or six games. But I don't feel locked in by any means. I'm still kind of searching for that rhythm and timing. But I think for where we're at in Spring Training right now, I feel like I'm in a good spot."

Ludwick feels that Spring Training performances have been a shaky barometer for how he might do during a regular season.

"I've had Spring Trainings where I've stunk with St. Louis and then I started hot," he said. "I've had Spring Trainings where I couldn't get out and started the season 1-for-15. I've had Spring Trainings where I was hot and started the season hot. And I've had Spring Trainings where I was cold and started the season cold. At the end of the year over the course of 400-500 at-bats, except for last year, my numbers are going to be where they always are.

"You can't evaluate yourself too much until you get 40-50 at-bats at Spring Training. Working with Mark McGwire [on the Cardinals], he said you try to get your rhythm or timing the first 20-30 at-bats. Then you see the ball and at 40-50, everything should come together."

Votto focused on timing, not spring average

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- During the regular season, it would be a unique sight to see Joey Votto's batting average below the .300 mark. During the early going of Spring Training, it would be different to see his average much higher than .200.

Votto typically is a slow starter in spring and this year is no different. After he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against the White Sox on Monday, the Reds' first baseman is batting .174 in Cactus League play.

"Joey takes a lot of pitches in Spring Training to see pitches," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Joey is looking at pitches he knows he can hit. That would be defeating his point and purpose right now. The more pitches he sees, the better timing he will get - breaking balls, offspeed, fastballs in."

Bailey bounces back from poor outing

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Over the last five games, Reds starting pitchers have allowed three earned runs over 20 innings. Against the White Sox on Monday, Homer Bailey kept the stinginess alive with four scoreless innings, allowing three hits, one walk and one strikeout.

Bailey has a 7.15 ERA through four starts, with his high ERA mostly attributed to his March 14 start against the Dodgers when he allowed six runs and six hits over 2 1/3 innings.

"The last game was the one I really felt bad about," Bailey said. "The rest of them I thought I threw pretty well. It's building up and I'm feeling really good, which is a change. So you have to be happy with that."

Worth noting

• Rotation candidate Aroldis Chapman pitched Monday in a Minor League game with Class A Bakersfield. Against Carolina, Chapman gave up two earned runs and four hits over 2 1/3 innings with two walks, four strikeouts and a wild pitch.

• Closer Ryan Madson (right elbow) and lefty reliever Bill Bray (left groin) are scheduled to throw an inning each in simulated games on Tuesday. If all goes well, both could be cleared to pitch in a Minor League game soon.