Cincinnati Reds Looking to Improve National League's Top Bullpen

Diamond NotesCorrespondent IIIJune 20, 2012

Red's Hard Throwin RP Nick Masset
Red's Hard Throwin RP Nick MassetBob Levey/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds' bullpen has been without two key arms most of the season. However, the pen has been outstanding. Their ERA tops all National League bullpens.

Right-handed power throwing relief pitcher Nick Masset has been out all season with a shoulder injury, and fellow relief pitcher south paw Bill Bray went on the disabled list April 24th with a groin strain and back injury.

Mark Sheldon with wrote in his article "Masset to increase velocity in 'Pen session" that Masset threw his first bullpen session Saturday at Citi Field. Masset felt comfortable with the way he threw and plans to build off from it.

"The Biggest thing was I was comfortable and the ball was coming out of my hand OK," Masset said. " I was at about 80 percent. Hopefully, we'll start climbing from there and let it go some more."

The second missing key arm, Bill Bray, has been rehabbing at both Class A Dayton and AAA Louisville.

Sheldon wrote in his article "Baker unsure of Friday returns for Stubbs, Bray" that Monday night for Louisville Bray pitched one-and-a-third innings, allowed one hit and struck out one .

Bray and Masset will be nice additions to an already strong bullpen, but their arrival leaves the question of who will be sent down?

With no glaring weakness in the pen, one would suspect that J.J. Hoover is the likely candidate for Bray, and if the remaining members of the pen continue to pitch well, a bench player may be the odd man when Masset is ready.

No matter what moves are made, it appears the Reds' pen is all set to make a strong postseason run.