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03/14/11 1:41 PM ET

Cueto slowly making progress

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Reds starter Johnny Cueto took a positive step Monday, but he has a few more to take before he fully gets back on track to be ready for the regular season.

Cueto played catch Monday at the team's Goodyear complex for the first time since he experienced forearm and biceps stiffness in his throwing arm that shut him down over the weekend.

Cueto came out of his Friday appearance against the Cubs a bit early when the condition emerged, and afterwards Dr. Timothy Kremcheck shut the right-hander down for a couple of days.

Reds trainer Paul Lessard said Cueto threw Monday and will throw some long-toss on Tuesday before hitting the mound for a side session Wednesday, as long as all goes well.

Grandal among nine Reds sent to Minors camp

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds pared their Spring Training roster Monday by reassigning nine players to Minor League camp, reducing the number of players in Major League camp to 45.

Catcher Yasmani Grandal, the team's No. 1 pick (12th overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, was among the players on the 40-man roster sent out, along with right-hander Daryl Thompson and left-hander Philippe Valiquette.

Lefties Donnie Joseph and Jeremy Horst, right-handers Matt Klinker and Justin Lehr, outfielder Danny Dorn and catcher Chris Denove were the non-roster invitees reassigned.

Worth Noting

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A few chuckles broke out on the field and on the top step of the dugout Monday when lefty fireballer Aroldis Chapman reached high and grabbed a softly sinking pop-up to end the seventh inning against the Rockies.

First baseman Miguel Cairo, who could have made the play, had to back off from the big lefty and cracked a smile. Then, first base coach Billy Hatcher stood with his hand on his hip waiting for Chapman on the top step of the dugout. The two cracked up once Chapman reached the dugout, as Hatcher put out his hand for a glove slap, apparently a gentle reminder that Chapman has friends dressed in red to make those plays.

Chapman deposited the ball on the top of the dugout for a toddler awaiting a treat.

Outfielder Chris Heisey, leading the pack of backup outfielders, continues to impress, providing the one extra-base hit of the game with a double that scored the game-tying run in the top of the ninth. After starting in center the day before, Heisey replaced Jonny Gomes in left on Monday.

Yonder Alonso, the first baseman whose progress is blocked by National League MVP Joey Votto, continued his hot-hitting spring performance with a base hit in his first at-bat Monday. He has hit safely in six of his seven starts and in seven of his 11 appearances overall.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.