CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Nick Masset, who has not pitched in the Majors all season because of a shoulder injury, will move his rehab assignment to Class A Dayton on Thursday and pitch one inning.
Masset had two scoreless innings and five strikeouts in two appearances for the rookie-level Arizona League Reds.
"Everything feels great," Masset said on Wednesday, while in the Reds clubhouse. "After I turned the corner, my arm has been feeling really good overall, loose, strong and all of my pitches have been working well. I'm really excited with where I'm at now."
Masset has been able to throw all of his pitches thus far and has had no setbacks since just before the All-Star break in July. He senses he's getting close to returning.
"It's been a long road and it's been tough," Masset said. "There have been a lot of ups and downs. I'm finding out a lot about myself and a lot about my arm. I'm just glad to be back with the team."
Masset will throw a couple more one-inning outings, assuming he gets through Thursday. At some point, he will have a two-inning appearance and then he will try to pitch on back-to-back days.
"As long as that goes well, I will be ready to go," Masset said.
Phillips avoids DL stint with calf injury
CINCINNATI -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was not placed on the disabled list on Wednesday because of the strained left calf that forced him from Tuesday's 7-6 win. He still was not available to play against the Padres.
Phillips began having issues when his calf cramped Sunday in Colorado, sending him out of the game early. He was still bothered on Tuesday, but he still hit the game-winning home run in the seventh inning against the Padres. Manager Dusty Baker pulled Phillips before the eighth inning.
Whether Phillips will be ready for a big three-game series against the Pirates this weekend was unclear, but Baker was hopeful.
"We have a big series coming up, not to overlook [the Padres], of course," Baker said. "We have a day game [Thursday], so he'll probably sit today and tomorrow and be available to pinch-hit maybe, depending on the closeness or severity of the game."
Wilson Valdez started in Phillips' place at second base on Wednesday.
Phillips is batting .296 with 13 home runs and 62 RBIs this season, and has been one of the Reds' hottest hitters since Joey Votto went on the disabled list. In 15 games without Votto, Phillips, batting third in the lineup, was hitting .339 with three homers and 13 RBIs.
Now Baker is without his two best players at the same time for at least a couple of games. There is no timetable for Votto's return.
"It's a tremendous challenge," Baker said. "That's why we've got to make sure Brandon's is very short term, hopefully. Don't do anything to make it long term. Brandon heals pretty quickly and it's up to us to help him take care of his health.
"Hopefully we can continue to figure out a way to win. You'd like to pad this lead before the Pirates get here, or at least maintain what you've got."
As expected, the Reds optioned right-handed pitcher Todd Redmond to Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday to make room on the 25-man roster for newly-acquired pitcher Jonathan Broxton.
Redmond was called up on Tuesday to serve as bullpen insurance, but was not used. In fact, he has had three call-ups this season and has yet to make his big league debut.
Broxton was acquired in a trade from the Royals for two Minor Leaguers shortly before Monday's Trade Deadline. He was expected to arrive just before the Reds-Padres game on Wednesday night.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch was in a Reds uniform and shagged fly balls during batting practice on Wednesday. Busch, a former series champion, was a high school friend of Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick when the two were growing up in Las Vegas.