Minor matters

Chris Gruler, the No. 1 pick in 2002, continues to battle shoulder problems. Gruler has not pitched since July 2003. He was making decent progress early in spring training, throwing off the mound and not far behind the non-rehab pitchers.

But he had a setback. These days, he's long-tossing up to 120 feet. That's a long way from competing.

"He's dealing with the aches and pains of rehab," Reds director of player development Johnny Almaraz said. "We're hoping he's ready for the short season."

The short season begins June 20 when Billings and the Gulf Coast Reds open.