05/24/12 7:38 PM ET
Bruce looks to swing his way out of slump
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Bruce entered Thursday's game against the Braves in a 0-for-10 skid and 1-for-27. Reds manager Dusty Baker figured the best way out of the slump is for Bruce to swing his way out.
"That's how he usually does," Baker said. "Most of the time when you're going badly, you're fouling off pitches you should hit and pulling everything. He's got the quick shoulder and quick hip. Most of the time you get jammed when you're waiting, and then, 'bam,' you get it together.
"Nobody likes to get jammed, but he needs a jam hit or a kid hit -- that means he's going into the ball instead of pulling away from it."
Bruce came into the series finale vs. the Braves batting .258 with a team-leading 10 home runs and 28 RBIs. His average before the slump was .305.
Masset continues to make progress
CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Nick Masset's long road back from a right shoulder injury reached another checkpoint on Thursday. For the first time since he went on the disabled list in late March, Masset began throwing and came through it without an issue.
"I felt, I think, as good as you can feel on the first day," Masset said. "I haven't thrown in two months. It's kind of a situation that you're starting throwing again over the offseason. You take three months off and start throwing. You have to get the rust out. Overall, I felt loose. I felt strong. The ball was coming out OK."
Playing catch in the outfield with pitching coach Bryan Price, Masset made 30 throws from a distance of about 60 feet. Head trainer Paul Lessard and manager Dusty Baker were among those looking on.
"He looked pretty good for the first time throwing the ball," Baker said. "He felt a little something, which is natural the first time. Then we'll see."
The plan is to have Masset throw every day and build up his arm. A timetable for a return is not yet known.
"It's going to be a process," Masset said. "We'll see how I feel tomorrow and build off of that. It's a day-by-day thing. You're trying not to overdo it but not under-do it. You try to make sure you get something out of it.
"The more you throw, the more strength you're going to build. Hopefully, I keep throwing and get out to 90 feet, 120 feet and get out to 200 feet, continue to build strength and hopefully things work out from there."
Reds honor Chipper with ceremony
CINCINNATI -- The Reds honored the career of Braves third baseman Chipper Jones before Thursday's game. Jones, who is retiring at season's end, was presented with one of the commemorative bases that Cincinnati has used during the entire four-game series.
Scott Rolen and general manager Walt Jocketty represented the Reds in the ceremony. Rolen, Jones and Hall of Famer George Brett are the only third basemen in Major League history to produce at least 2,000 hits, 500 doubles, 300 home runs and 1,200 RBIs. Only 29 players at any position have reached all of those plateaus.
Jones entered the night with 459 career home runs, a .304 career average and 1,585 RBIs -- second all-time among switch-hitters. As far as manager Dusty Baker was concerned, Jones is a no-doubt Hall of Famer.
"He fits all of the criteria," Baker said. "Winning teams, MVP, batting champion -- it's all the areas that the other guys in the Hall have basically, and some have less. He's a switch-hitter and a third baseman, that's probably the position that has the least amount of Hall of Famers in it."
The Reds signed former big league outfielder Joey Gathright on Thursday and assigned him to Triple-A Louisville. Gathright had been playing with an independent team in Bridgeport and was batting .240 in 13 games. In seven seasons, the 31-year-old has played for the Rays, Royals, Cubs and Red Sox and is a career .263 hitter.
The Reds have depth issues in the Louisville outfield with both Denis Phipps and Daryl Jones on the disabled list.