From Today’s Enquirer:

Chapman back to the bullpen?

Left-hander Bill Bray’s groin injury could lead to Aroldis Chapman being shifted back to the bullpen.

With pitchers, groin injuries take time to heal and can lead to serious problems.

Bray missed two weeks of throwing immediately after the injury. He had to shut it down Wednesday after feeling pain in a live bullpen session.

“We thought we gave him enough time last time,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “There comes a point when we’ve got to decide if there’s enough time or not to get ready. We’ve got the luxury of three lefties in the bullpen – or potentially three lefties.”

That includes Chapman.

“That’s a pretty good backup plan,” Baker said. “As it is, we’ve got six starters anyway.”

This just makes me crazy. They invest big money in this kid based on his potential and then seem to constantly do everything in their power to undermine his potential effectiveness and value. They’ve said all along he has the potential to be a #1 starter. I don’t know if he can or can’t, but if he can be a good/great #2 or #3 starter, that’s a lot more valuable to this organization than a left handed middle relief guy or even set up guy. Hell, even than a closer. Ugh…

Brandon Phillips

Phillips has seen other Reds get theirs. Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto. He noted the signing of Ryan Madson. Phillips doesn’t begrudge his peers their “respect.” He just wonders why he hasn’t gotten his. “A slap in the face,” Phillips calls it.

“I’ve been here longer than anybody, and I’m one of the best players in this game. I feel that I should come before many other people.”

This is a whisper of what I was afraid of…and it could be Daugherty trying to ignite controversy, but it also could be that Phillips is going to be a problem if the contract issue isn’t settled, and it doesn’t sound to me like it’s going to be settled.

Jocketty says the Reds appreciate Phillips’ popularity and willingness to be a team ambassador. They’re not going to pay him any more for it, though: “We’re not going to overpay a guy just because he does all those great things.”

Jocketty and Phillips met a week ago. Jocketty says Phillips felt better about things afterward. Phillips says he’s still in the dark. “I don’t know anything,” he says. “If a team wants you, they’ll make you happy. They’ll at least talk to you, let you know what’s going on.”

“There’s going to have to be some give and take to get this done,” says Jocketty, who will meet again with Phillips’ representatives later this month. “We’ve made a proposal. It was shot down. We’ll revisit it. There’s only so much we can do.”

So what do you think? Will the Reds extend Phillips? Should they? Who’s right and who’s wrong here (or more right and more wrong)? My feelings are well known. I like Phillips, I think he’s a very good player, but I don’t think this franchise can afford to pay him $12M for the next 3 years. They cannot afford to pay players for what they HAVE done, they must pay players for what they WILL do.

Nick Masset

I talked to Nick Masset this morning. He was feeling soreness in shoulder toward the end of his appearance yesterday.

“It’s surprising because I came in really strong,” he said. “It’s something a lot of guys here go through in spring. I’ll take a couple steps back and build up my arm strength again.”

Masset said he has no history of shoulder problems.

I know it’s me just worrying and always looking for patterns, but Madson (now off the injury list) and Bray, now Masset. I don’t like the trend.

Zack Cozart

Cozart, a rookie, is the projected starter for Opening Day. The Reds haven’t had a rookie start at shortstop on Opening Day in more than 40 years (For trivia buffs: It was Darrel Chaney in 1971. Dave Concepcion started as a rookie in 1970).

Cozart has heard about the Opening Day hoopla in Cincinnati.

“I’ve heard there’s a good buzz about the Reds with the acquisitions we’ve made,” Cozart said. “Obviously, Opening Day is big, especially in Cincinnati. It’s going to be fun.”

Nice article about Zack.

Opening Day

The Cincinnati Reds announce that 1,500 tickets for Opening Day will go on sale Saturday, March 10 at 9 a.m. at the Great American Ball Park ticket windows on Crosley Terrace.

Opening Day tickets available include 1,000 View Level and 500 Standing Room Only to the April 5, 2012 regular season opener vs. the Miami Marlins.

Ticket prices are $35 for View Level and $25 for Standing Room Only.

New this year, all Opening Day tickets purchased on Saturday will include a ticket to the Spring Showcase Reds vs. Futures Game on April 3.