Masset rebounds well, other news
It was a much better second start for Nick Masset on Thursday. The fifth starter candidate pitched three scoreless innings against the Pirates with one hit and two strikeouts.
The only “uh-oh” moment for Masset came in the second inning when leadoff batter Andy LaRoche smoked a line drive off of the pitcher’s right foot. Masset needed a few minutes to shake it off and resumed nicely. He induced a 6-4-3 double play by Garrett Jones and went on to retire his final nine batters in a row.
“Last time I needed the feel of getting back on the mound, feel for finding the zone,” Masset said. “I think was trying to do more than I really should that first one out. This time I was a lot more relaxed and a lot more in tune with myself. I felt really good out there pounding the zone with all my pitches.”
In his first start on Saturday against the Red Sox, Masset was nervous and gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits with a walk in one inning. He also committed a throwing error trying to start a double play.
“You have to take it with a grain of salt,” Masset of the first-game debacle. “Everyone is going to have those type of outings. It’s Spring Training, the first game. You’re all worked up. I think the night before I lost more sleep than I did the night of. The way I looked at it was it’s something to rebound off of, get back out there and do the job I know I’m capable of doing.”
“Much more composed,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “He threw the ball well. He threw the ball relaxed. He was ready today. He was ready the other day but he was a little over-amped.”
- Pitcher Johnny Cueto didn’t have a strong World Baseball Classic tuneup. On Wednesday for the Dominican Republic against the Orioles, Cueto gave up three earned runs and five hits over three innings. Willy Taveras was 3-for-3 for the Dominican with a run scored.
- As the DH again, Alex Gonzalez singled to left field in his first at-bat in the third inning. He ran the bases but didn’t have to go too hard. Gonzalez will not play in Friday’s game at Minnesota.
It’s not clear yetIt’s expected that he will make the trip to Dunedin for the Blue Jays on Saturday. Gonzalez told me he felt fine after he left today’s game.
- The Reds beat the Pirates in 10 innings, 10-6. Darnell McDonald hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 10th. It was the Reds’ fourth grand slam this spring (McDonald, Craig Tatum, Jonny Gomes and Jerry Hairston Jr.).
- ESPN’s Dick Vitale made his first appearance in Reds camp today. Vitale walked into Baker’s office to say hello while I was conducting a one-on-one interview for a future date. Vitale spoke for a few minutes and apologized after he realized he interupted my interview. Then he talked to Baker for a couple of more minutes before leaving when his cellphone rang.