John Fay’s take on the Madson injury:

The Reds got devastating news this morning: Closer Ryan Madson will need “Tommy John” surgery, ending his season before he ever threw a pitch for the Reds.

He was examined by Dr. Tim Kremchek in Cincinnati. Kremchek discovered that the ligament in Madson’s elbow was torn from the bone.

“We can sit here and try to rehab it,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “But that never works.

On the battle for the 5th starter spot:

It was hard to ignore the juxtaposition. Right-hander Homer Bailey and left-hander Aroldis Chapman, the candidates for the Reds’ fifth starter job, were pitching at the same time about 10 miles apart.

Bailey’s line in the 6-4 loss to San Francisco Giants at Goodyear: 32/3 innings, six hits, four runs, one walk, three strikeouts. He’s 1-2 in the spring with a 7.93 ERA. He’s struck out six and walked seven.

Chapman in the 6-0 win over San Diego Padres at Peoria: Five innings, four hits, no runs, one walk. five strikeouts. He’s 1-0 in the spring a 1.50 ERA. He’s struck out 12 and walked two.

Arroyo working on a new pitch:

Bronson Arroyo is trying to break in a new pitch – a one-seam sinker like Mike Leake throws. He’s having a little trouble taming it.

That led to the five walks Friday in the 5-2 loss to San Diego.

“It’s got great movement,” Arroyo said. “I’m having a hard time keeping it on the plate. It’s just moving so much. I’ve been tinkering with it since last year really. It’s a different grip. It always moves – every time, which is great. But it moves a lot.

“I’m having a hard time telling myself to throw the ball to the middle of the plate and let it run to the outer half. I’m used to throwing it to the outer half and letting it move a little bit.”

Arroyo hopes to get the pitch down.

“I’m trying to make it my everyday sinker. You know it will always move. My old sinker, some days, it’s great. Some days, it stays straight. This one always moves. But it moves so much it’s been hard for me to dial it in. That’s why I couldn’t get the ball over the plate.”

John also does an interesting piece on the Reds financial situation and keeping Votto and Phillips:

Phillips is in the final year of his contract. Votto has two more years. The Reds have been negotiating an extension with Phillips and plan to do the same with Votto at some point.

But because of the nature of baseball economics, there is no guarantee that either deal will get done. The reality is that the Reds are an $80 million payroll club living in a $100 million payroll world.

What if the Reds’ payroll were $100 million? Would the Votto-Phillips question still loom?

“They’d be done,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “No question. But we’re in a position where we have to be more careful with our long-term deals. That’s why we move slower sometimes.”

John also spoke about the Brandon Phillips contract situation with me yesterday when we did an interview for our next podcast (to be published tomorrow morning).