CINCINNATI -- The last time Ryan Ludwick was seen on the field, the Reds outfielder was in pain after separating his right shoulder following a head-first slide on Opening Day. The injury required surgery to repair a torn labrum and a lengthy rehabilitation.
Ludwick is poised to turn a big corner in his comeback effort and could begin a rehab assignment early next week.
"As long as this weekend goes well, no setbacks or something, he'll start the rehab assignment," Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said.
Ludwick has taken batting practice with the team on Thursday and Friday. He had been hitting on his own for about the last 10 days.
"He looked real good," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Ludwick's Thursday session. "These other guys are four months ahead of him, and he's kind of a slow starter anyway. ... We have to give him enough at-bats so when he comes back, it's not Spring Training."
By rule, Ludwick's rehab assignment in the Minors can last up to 20 days. He has long been targeting an August return to the Reds' lineup.
Shoulder tendinitis delays Marshall's rehab
CINCINNATI -- Reds left-handed reliever Sean Marshall, who has been on the disabled list since May 24 with a sprained left shoulder, has had a setback in his throwing program. Marshall last threw in the bullpen on Sunday in Atlanta and was slated to throw to Reds hitters during Thursday's post-All-Star Game workout.
"At the end of the bullpen, he was a little tender," Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said on Friday. "After treatments at the end of the day, he was feeling OK. Yesterday, we were planning on starting our workout with that live BP session, and while he was long tossing and warming up, he was still feeling some tenderness in the back of the shoulder. We shut it down."
A medical exam on Friday confirmed that Marshall had shoulder tendinitis.
"Thank God there is nothing else involved. We shut down the throwing program through this weekend," Lessard said. "We'll see how he responds. If he does well, he will resume his throwing program probably on Monday."
If Marshall is able to return to throwing soon, he is expected to pick up where he left off in his program.
Phillips stands by recent comments on contract
CINCINNATI -- Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was not retreating on Friday from comments he made for a just-published article in a local magazine.
In discussing the six-year, $72 million contract he signed with the Reds in April 2012, Phillips told Cincinnati Magazine he was "scarred" and it was a "slap in the face," because teammate Joey Votto -- who still had two years left on his contract -- signed a 10-year, $225 million contract before the Reds turned their attention to him, a pending free agent.
"What did I say wrong? Please tell me what did I say that was wrong?" Phillips said on Friday. "It's about people asking you questions. You don't back down from any question. You just tell them how you really feel. I don't feel like I said anything wrong. I didn't disrespect [anybody]. If I did, it could be somebody in the front office. They know what happened, so I don't understand why everything is a big deal. And fans, I didn't say anything. I love this city. I love Cincinnati. I'm happy to be here. I'm happy with the contract that I've got."
The story, featured on the cover of the magazine's August issue, covered many aspects of Phillips' tenure in Cincinnati, but the part that made waves on Friday was his criticism of how the Reds' front office handled his negotiations last year.
"If somebody tells me they have no money and then you find $200 million somewhere, what does that sound like?" Phillips said. "I'm very happy for Joey, don't get me wrong. I'm happy for everything that happened for Joey. Myself, I was done. I thought I wasn't going to be a Cincinnati Red anymore. If y'all paid attention to everything that I said, everything you got out of that -- people are thinking negative about it.
"Basically, if you think about it, it's saying that I thought I wasn't going to be a Cincinnati Red. If y'all want to take it the negative way, be my guest. It doesn't bother me. I love Cincinnati. I love my fans. If you don't want to like me for what I've said, that's really up to you."
Said Reds general manager Walt Jocketty: "It is an internal matter, and there will be no further comment."
For his part, Votto said he had not read the story. Both he and Phillips agreed the issue had been previously discussed between them.
"From what I gather, Brandon's reaction was totally human," Votto said. "It's a feeling I've felt before. It's a feeling most people have felt before. Brandon is a teammate I've played with for six, seven years now. I love playing with him. I really have an immense amount of respect for him. Those comments really have nothing to do with me. It doesn't change a single thing. It makes me like him more, to be honest with you."
Broxton set for 'pen session; Hanigan swinging bat
CINCINNATI -- Reds right-handed reliever Jonathan Broxton, who has been on the disabled list since June 15 because of a strain in his elbow, is slated to throw in his first side bullpen session on Saturday.
"It all kind of depends on how tomorrow goes for what our next couple of days after that will be," head trainer Paul Lessard said.
Catcher Ryan Hanigan, on the DL since July 11 with a left wrist sprain, started swinging a bat on Friday. Lessard felt that Hanigan would be ready to return when he's eligible for activation on Thursday.
Reds rotation ace Johnny Cueto, on the DL since June 29 for the third time this season because of a strained right lat muscle, could begin a new throwing program in a week.
Cueto is not currently with the team because he is home in the Dominican Republic dealing with a personal issue. He is expected to be back on Saturday.