CINCINNATI -- Reds rookie shortstop Zack Cozart's brisk hitting pace has slowed some in recent days, but that wasn't the catalyst for his not being in Wednesday's lineup vs. the Giants.

It had more to do with San Francisco starting lefty Barry Zito and that utility infielder Wilson Valdez had a good track record. Valdez, who came in 3-for-10 lifetime vs. Zito, started in Cozart's place.

"It's a day against a softer thrower and those young guys aren't crazy about soft throwers -- old guys, too, for that matter," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I believe in playing everybody. Valdez has had pretty good success against Zito."

Cozart entered the night batting .288 with one homer and three RBIs, but was on a 5-for-25 (.200) clip over his last six games.

Baker puts Stubbs back at leadoff

CINCINNATI -- If he could always have his version of an ideal lineup, Reds manager Dusty Baker believed center fielder Drew Stubbs would be the best fit as a leadoff hitter. On Wednesday vs. the Giants, Baker put Stubbs back into the top spot -- a place where he hasn't been overly successful in the past.

With the leadoff hitter of the past few days, shortstop Zack Cozart, getting a night off and Stubbs' 4-for-8 track record vs. starter Barry Zito, Baker chose Stubbs. In the previous six games as the No. 2 hitter, Stubbs batted .385 (10-for-26) with a homer, two doubles and six RBIs. In his other 10 starts, he's either led off or batted seventh.

"It's the same approach. I'm not going to change anything," Stubbs said of leading off. "You could argue that hitting in front of Joey [Votto], you get more pitches to hit. Maybe that got me going but at the same time, it's a coincidence that I settled in and found my stroke a little bit. I'm staying on the ball better. I'm seeing the ball a little better. Moving in the lineup won't change anything for me."

While Baker would love to make use of Stubbs' speed at the top of the order regularly, his strikeout rate has prompted Baker to go mostly with Brandon Phillips since the middle of last season. As for where his preference lies, Stubbs found it hard to say.

"Over the course of my career, I've hit in so many places," Stubbs said. "I understand his point about being at the top of the order. I can create a lot of stuff that a lot of other guys can't. But I don't know if it's my favorite place to be. There are times I enjoy it and times I'd rather have the opportunity to drive in more runs. I've always believed that the team success trumps any individual success. If our best chance to win is to hit in that spot in the order, that's what I will do."

Masset has MRI to gauge shoulder's progress

CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Nick Masset, who has been out since late in Spring Training because of tendinitis in his right shoulder, was awaiting the results of an MRI exam he underwent Wednesday.

The test was done to compare the condition of the shoulder to the original MRI he had in late March. Masset had one throwing session since, but had to shut down because of soreness. He feels he has made progress after that.

"I'm making some big steps towards being healthy," Masset said. "I've been working really hard and doing a lot of therapy and everything they've asked me to. We'll see what it looks in there and build off of that. Hopefully I have another attempt to throw towards the end of the week. We'll see how it feels."

Masset has never had a shoulder injury during his career and didn't expect to be on the disabled list this long.

"I've been doing all my exercises and doing stuff day to day, holding my baby, and all of that," he said. "I'm fine doing that, but the true test is to pick up a ball and throw and see how it feels."

Cairo seeing improvement in hamstring

CINCINNATI -- Reds utility infielder Miguel Cairo, on the 15-day disabled list since April 17, is making progress with his strained left hamstring. Cairo was injured during an April 14 game vs. the Nationals.

"I ran and hit the last two days and had no discomfort. It's just one day at a time right now," Cairo said Wednesday.

Cairo is eligible for activation Monday, but couldn't say if he would be ready.

"I just hope so," he said.

Worth noting

Baker didn't understand why both the Reds and Giants benches were issued a warning by home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza on Tuesday. The warning came in the top of the ninth inning when Reds reliever Sam LeCure threw a pitch at Buster Posey's legs. In the seventh, Giants reliever Dan Otero hit Votto with a pitch.

"I'm always surprised by warnings," Baker said. "I was surprised by the warning we had in St. Louis."