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Hamilton cleared for baseball activities

Bailey remains on track to return in May

CINCINNATI -- Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton received the green light on Friday that he was hoping for. Hamilton, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in September, was cleared to begin baseball activities.

"Just no throwing yet," Hamilton said as Redsfest began Friday night. "That's a good sign. I'm starting on Monday. I'll start hitting. [The doctor] gave me the OK."

• Frazier and Co. feted at Redsfest

Hamilton suffered a torn labrum trying to make a diving play late in the season. If all continues to go well, he can begin throwing in January.

"No setbacks," Hamilton said. "I've been rehabbing down in Mississippi. Those guys have taken care of me. Coming back here, I know [physical therapist Christy Sweeney] does a really good job. I'm looking forward to working with her. I'll do baseball stuff in the morning and do therapy afterward."

Hamilton, who struggled at the plate in 2015 and batted .226/.274/.289 in 114 games with 57 stolen bases, was supposed to go to Los Angeles in the offseason and work on his hitting. His agent had lined him up to spend time on hitting with Hall of Famer Rod Carew.

That was before Carew suffered a heart attack, from which he is still recovering. Hamilton will instead work out in Cincinnati until he leaves for Spring Training in Arizona in February.

"It's my first time in Cincy in the offseason. I'm looking forward to it," Hamilton said. "I moved into my place. "I'm here untll Spring Training. [Devin] Mesoraco texted me the other day. That guy works harder than anyone I know. I look forward to working out with him."

Also part of Hamilton's future is more switch-hitting. The natural right-hander wanted to give up batting left-handed but it was decided by the organization he should stick with it.

"Whatever they want me to do, I'm going to do," Hamilton said. "I'm going to go along with it as long as I can and see how I do. I don't want to be in situation like I was last year -- not being comfortable with it. For sure, this time if I'm not comfortable with it, I'm letting them know. I don't want to be out there embarrassing myself."

Hamilton will work on his hitting this winter with third-base coach Billy Hatcher, who lives in Cincinnati.

"Hatcher thinks he can help me," Hamilton said. "We'll go from there. ... It wasn't his role [before]."

Video: Bailey, Frazier on being at Redsfest, 2016 season

Also on the mend nicely is Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey, who had Tommy John surgery in May to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Bailey, who remains on track to return to pitching in games in May 2016, felt like his elbow injury "never happened." He was long tossing at up to 180 feet until taking a break around Thanksgiving. He will resume throwing again next month, but he won't get on a mound until camp in February.

"There's nothing wrong with it. It's just normal," Bailey said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Read More: Cincinnati Reds, Billy Hamilton, Homer Bailey