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Hamilton optimistic he'll be back in action soon

Center fielder sprained left index finger while catching line drive Tuesday; Bailey has rough start
MLB.com @m_sheldon

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The swelling on Billy Hamilton's left index finger was down, and the Reds' center fielder didn't need to wear a splint. That left Hamilton feeling optimistic that he avoided a serious injury after he was scratched from Tuesday's game vs. Cleveland.

"It's way better. It just something that happened to swell up yesterday," Hamilton said Wednesday morning. "I guess they wanted to be sure about it. They didn't want it to hang around all spring. This is the best time to take care it."

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The swelling on Billy Hamilton's left index finger was down, and the Reds' center fielder didn't need to wear a splint. That left Hamilton feeling optimistic that he avoided a serious injury after he was scratched from Tuesday's game vs. Cleveland.

"It's way better. It just something that happened to swell up yesterday," Hamilton said Wednesday morning. "I guess they wanted to be sure about it. They didn't want it to hang around all spring. This is the best time to take care it."

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During batting practice on Tuesday morning, Hamilton was headed to the outfield and was near the shortstop spot when he reacted to catch a Jose Peraza line drive.

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"I was picking up a ball on the infield," Hamilton explained. "By the time I picked up the ball, he hit a line drive right at me."

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Hamilton thinks he simply caught the ball in the wrong part of his glove after Peraza stung it.

"Joey [Votto] was like, 'Man, you hurt Billy yesterday. You hit the ball that hard,'" Hamilton said. "He hits it real hard. I was right there. It was more reaction. It was something I knew I probably shouldn't have tried to catch. I was so close to him. I threw my hand up. I caught it, but that don't mean anything in practice."

In seven Cactus League games, Hamilton is 0-for-14, but he did make the defensive play of spring on Monday, when he robbed the Angels' Shohei Ohtani with a spectacular diving catch.

Video: Must C Catch: Hamilton robs Ohtani with diving catch

Hamilton underwent tests on Tuesday, including an MRI and an X-ray, and he was checked out again by the doctor on Wednesday.

"I'm allowed to do everything today and start back playing tomorrow," he said. "No big issue. It just swelled up so bad."

Bailey roughed up

Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey did not pitch well during his three innings of work in Wednesday's 14-12 loss to the White Sox. Bailey allowed six earned runs and seven hits -- including two home runs -- with one strikeout.

The downside of Bailey being supplied with a 5-0 lead after the top of the first was that it took 31 minutes to play the half-inning as Cincinnati batted around. The Reds scored four more runs in the second inning and both innings were lengthened by pitching changes.

Video: CIN@CWS: Bailey discusses difficult start vs. Chicago

"It was hard to get warm again after sitting there for 30-something minutes before the first and 20-something minutes before the second," Bailey said. "During the season, you've always got a tunnel you can go in or a cage to keep loose and keep throwing. Here, it's a little more difficult to do that."

Bailey felt no issues with his arm, which is important since he's been affected by elbow surgeries three times since 2014 -- including having bone chips removed before Spring Training 2017. But now manager Bryan Price would like to see things sharpen up as well.

"I just want to see good quality," Price said. "You can tell here that it doesn't mean you'll have a good linescore at the end of the day. That's why we don't put too much into the results at Spring Training. We look at the quality of the delivery, the way the ball comes out of the hand of the pitchers, the way the ball is coming off the bat.

"It will be important regardless of the linescore, that he continues to build his arm strength and improve his command."

Price likes Rainey

No one had asked Price this spring about relief pitcher prospect Tanner Rainey, so the manager brought him up unsolicited Wednesday morning.

"He's a guy worth really watching closely," Price said. "That's a big arm, big slider. I think he's going to be a good one. I volunteered that because I haven't really spoken about him. I think he's been very impressive in camp the way he's handled himself."

Rainey, 25, was taken with the 71st overall pick by the Reds in the 2015 Draft. After he had a 3.80 ERA in 39 appearances for Class A Advanced Daytona last season, he was promoted to Double-A Pensacola and produced a 1.59 ERA in 14 games. He is ranked as the Reds' No. 30 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

In each of his first two appearances this spring, Rainey worked a scoreless inning. Against the White Sox Wednesday, he allowed one earned run and two hits -- including an infield hit -- with one walk, two strikeouts and two wild pitches. He touched 98 mph on the rader a couple of times.

Up next

Luis Castillo will make his third start when the Reds play the Rockies at 3:05 p.m. ET Thursday in Scottsdale. Rotation candidate Robert Stephenson is also scheduled to get into the game. Fans can listen live on Gameday Audio.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Billy Hamilton