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03/04/12 7:41 PM EST

Madson nursing minor elbow injury

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- New closer Ryan Madson has not appeared in either of the Reds' first two Cactus League games. Madson has been out with what the club considers to be a minor elbow injury.

"He has a little irritation in his arm," Reds manager Dusty Baker said following the Reds' 8-6 win over the Indians on Sunday. "The doctor looked at him today. Hopefully, he will be all right in the next couple of days."

Madson, 31, is one of the Reds' big offseason acquisitions. In January, the right-hander was signed to a one-year, $8.5 million contract as a free agent.

In other injury news, lefty reliever Bill Bray is almost ready to return from a strained left groin.

"Very close," Bray said Sunday morning. "I threw in the bullpen [Saturday]. It went well."

Bailey content with first Cactus League outing

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In his first spring start for the Reds, Homer Bailey gave up three runs and four hits over two innings while throwing 32 pitches against the Indians on Sunday.

The fact that Bailey gave up a three-run home run to Shelley Duncan in the first inning irked Bailey less than the one-out walk he surrendered two batters earlier to Cristian Guzman.

"The 2-2 was a pretty close pitch [to Guzman]," said Bailey, who had two strikeouts. "During the season, I am not throwing a 3-2 curveball with a 5-0 lead. But Spring Training, we didn't throw any sliders. Our goal was to go fastball-curveball. I think we might have thrown a split or two."

"He's working on things," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's OK. It's a lot easier to do that when you've got a pretty good idea that you've made the team and are healthy."

Duncan smoked an 0-2 Bailey pitch over the berm in left field for a three-run homer that narrowed the Reds' lead to 5-3.

"The home run, to me it looked like it was a letter-high fastball where I wanted to throw it," Bailey said. "Shelley just got on top of it. What can you do?

"I felt like the ball was coming out all right. Overall in general, I feel pretty happy with it."

Chapman gets his work in during first outing

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Seeking a spot in the Reds' rotation, Aroldis Chapman made his first appearance of the spring with a two-inning relief appearance that followed starter Homer Bailey.

Chapman gave up one run and two hits with one walk and three strikeouts while pitching the third and fourth innings.

"I threw all the pitches I have, but I could not throw them with the frequency I want," Chapman said through interpreter Tomas Vera.

Which pitch would Chapman have preferred to use more?

"Fastball," he replied.

Actually, the one pitch Chapman needs to develop to help him crack the rotation was not part of his Sunday repertoire.

"I think up to now it's OK," Chapman said of his changeup. "But I didn't use it today. It's coming along good."

In the third, Chapman gave up a Cristian Guzman single, walked Russ Canzler and struck out Shelley Duncan. Following a double steal that negated the chance for a double play, Aaron Cunningham hit an RBI groundout to shortstop. Matt LaPorta struck out to end the inning.

To end the fourth, Chapman picked off Cleveland's Lou Marson at first base. Marson was thrown out at second base.

"I think I've got a good move to first base, so it's a good time for me to use it," Chapman said. "I like it. I like how it went."

Reds have high hopes for prospect Soto

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With elite prospect Yonder Alonso dealt in the offseason by the Reds in the Mat Latos trade, the future at first base behind Joey Votto is now Neftali Soto.

A third-round Draft pick out of Puerto Rico in 2007, Soto hit 30 home runs with 76 RBIs last season for Double-A Carolina. That was despite missing a month with a fractured left wrist. He was added to the 40-man roster after the season.

"That's one reason why you can trade an Alonso when you have [Soto] coming up," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "The guy has tremendous power and he's getting better. He works hard. He's an outstanding first baseman. I see him in the weight room every day. He's come a long way in a short period of time."

Soto, 23, hit a solo home run vs. the Indians on Saturday and also made a nice defensive play in the game. First base is his favorite position after being a defensive nomad much of his Minor League career.

"I signed as a shortstop, moved to third base, caught," Soto said. "[First base] feels easier. When I was young, I used to play first, and then they moved me. I think that helped me."

Also helping Soto with his first big league camp this spring is that he played winter ball for the first time. He played 35 games in Venezuela. One reason he played was to make up for time lost when he broke his wrist.

"I thought it was going to be easier, but it was tough," Soto said of the winter experience. "I really liked it. It got me ready for here. I only had a month without playing. I practically played the whole year. I feel ready right now."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.