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03/18/12 8:58 PM ET

Reds move 16 players in first round of cuts

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The first wave of roster cuts came to Reds camp on Sunday with 16 players getting sent out by the club.

Optioned to Triple-A Louisville were infielders Kristopher Negron, Neftali Soto and right-handed reliever Josh Judy. Infielders Didi Gregorius and Henry Rodriguez and right-handed pitcher Pedro Villarreal were optioned to Double-A Pensacola.

First baseman/outfielder Donald Lutz and right-handed pitcher Kyle Lotzkar were optioned to Class A Bakersfield.

Catchers Brian Esposito and Tucker Barnhart, pitchers Nick Christiani, Daniel Corcino, Sean Gallagher, Donnie Joseph, Chad Reineke and Brett Tomko were reassigned to the Minor League camp.

"This is probably the latest that we made the first cuts since I've been in baseball," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "A lot of it had to do with doubleheaders, scheduling and all that stuff. We sent out some guys that were very impressive. We don't have room for everybody. The innings and at-bats are becoming shorter and shorter as you get closer to the end of spring and guys are playing more and playing longer."

The Reds' spring roster, which began with 58 players, is now at 42. The club must be down to 25 players by Opening Day on April 5.

Three Reds relievers inch closer to game action

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Three key Reds relievers continue to make progress in their efforts to return from injuries.

Right-handed setup man Nick Masset, who has not pitched since March 7 because of a sore shoulder, is slated to pitch an inning vs. the White Sox on Monday.

Lefty Bill Bray, who has yet to see game action because of a strained left groin, worked in his latest bullpen session on Sunday. Closer Ryan Madson, who has also missed all the games with right elbow irritation, threw 39 pitches in his bullpen session on Saturday.

"If everything goes well, we can look at slotting them in for some game activity, probably a Minor League game first," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said of Madson and Bray.

Added Price: "Nick hasn't missed that much time. His setback wasn't extended. That's why we feel comfortable putting him in a big league game. With Ryan and Bill, we'd like to have a controlled environment such as a Minor League game."

Madson, who first reported his injury at the end of February, has felt good each bullpen session over the past week.

"I think the only thing I'm lacking now is strength," said Madson, who signed a one-year, $8.5 million contract in January. "I just want to keep building. Hopefully next week, I will get into a game."

Worth noting

• Left-hander and rotation candidate Aroldis Chapman is slated to pitch in a Minor League game on Monday while the big league team plays the White Sox with Homer Bailey starting.

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.