Madson delivers to the plate during the 9th inning against the Cardinals during game 1 of the 2011 NLDS. (Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE)

Bullpen Blues: Madson, Masset, Bray

One of the mountain of reasons 2011 was not a success was the health of the Reds starting rotation (as I talked about in the last podcast). Well, it now appears that the gremlins have invaded the bullpen thus far in 2012.

And that’s something that went a little under the radar in 2011. The bullpen had its share of injuries as well. Sam LeCure, Matt Maloney, Aroldis Chapman and Logan Ondrusek all saw their names on the disabled list during last season. It wasn’t only the starters. The relievers were hit hard as well.

These injuries haven’t been as big a nuisance as those that Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey suffered last spring, but there are just that…a nuisance.

Ryan Madson, the free agent closer the Reds signed during the off-season, had to take some time off due to an elbow irritation. He has yet to pitch in a game this spring. When the injury was first reported, manager Dusty Baker stated that the team was not concerned over the matter and that Madson “didn’t look worried”. Madson’s name was recently removed from the team’s injury report.

There is no set time for Madson to work in a game. All in all, it still sounds like bad news, but here’s what Madson says about the issue…

“The good part is I don’t need a lot of time or to face a lot of hitters. I feel like the season just ended for me. I got enough reps the last couple of years. Usually I have time left at the end of Spring Training. Hopefully this year it will be timed pretty good and I will be ready to go.”

I’m good if he’s good.

Concerning Masset, it was a sore shoulder that has crept into the righty. That soreness appeared toward the end of his outing on Wednesday. Masset has never had any issues concerning his shoulder in the past, but he did have Tommy John when he was in high school.

Like Madson, Masset is not thinking the soreness is a serious issue. John Fay asked Masset about his confidence level in regards to his shoulder…

“I am,” he said. “So is the doctor. I go by what he says. I’ll take a couple days off from throwing to get the sore out.”

I’m sure there is a certain someone that doesn’t share the same opinion of Reds doctors.

For Bray, his injury is a little more severe. He had been coping with a groin injury. After taking a couple of weeks off, Bray attempted to resume workouts. Another setback evolved as Bray felt pain during a bullpen session. The two weeks were apparently not enough and that’s not good as groin injuries require time…and patience. Lots of patience in some cases.

This may see Aroldis Chapman become a member of the bullpen once again (much to my chagrin as I pointed out earlier today). Dusty says that Chapman’s return to the ‘pen is “a pretty good back-up plan”. It also may makes sense to him due to the fact the Reds “have six starters anyways”.

(Oh the agony!)

While the prospects of Madson and Masset returning are good, not so in Bray’s case. The time it takes to properly heal may well run into beginning of the regular season. The Reds brass will have to make a decision in a rather hasty fashion as Opening Day is only 27 days away.

Yes, less than four weeks!


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Tags: Aroldis Chapman Baseball Bill Bray Cincinnati Reds MLB Nick Masset Reds Relief Pitching Ryan Madson

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