Bailey's first rehab start a success

Righty, recovering from Tommy John surgery, pitched in Minors

April 22nd, 2016
Homer Bailey, who underwent Tommy John surgery last May, pitched in his first rehab game. (AP)Jeffrey Phelps/AP

CINCINNATI -- One rehab assignment start in the Minors down, at least two to go for Reds pitcher Homer Bailey as he nears his return from last season's Tommy John surgery.

At Triple-A Louisville on Thursday, Bailey threw 67 pitches over 3 2/3 innings against Indianapolis. He allowed two earned runs on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

"Everything went pretty good," Bailey said on Friday. "The velocity was there, and I had pretty good command for the most part. It's nice to be back on the mound."

Manager Bryan Price saw the reports from the team after the game and was pleased after he watched some of Bailey's outing on video.

"He was throwing hard. He was clustering quality pitches in the zone," Price said. "He made one mistake in his last inning -- we saw a 3-2 high fastball with nobody on for a homer. But really good stuff. The velocity was good, his slider was very good with good shape and command. He threw a couple of good curveballs and a couple of really nice splits. He looks like he's progressing even beyond what our expectations would be at this point."

Next up for Bailey is a start for Double-A Pensacola on Tuesday. Five days later, he will make another start for Louisville.

Bailey has waited a long time to get back in the Reds' rotation since having surgery on May 8. It came following two starts upon his return from surgery in 2014 that reported a torn flexor mass tendon in the same arm. Bailey has maintained patience throughout the process and hasn't tried to rush back.

"It's kind of like cooking, follow the recipe," Bailey said. "You can't skip any steps. Just go through it."

During Spring Training and several bullpen sessions, Bailey often noted that he felt normal while throwing. Setback concerns that are common for Tommy John surgery patients haven't crept in as he gets closer to completing his comeback.

"From the first day I started throwing, it felt good. That was in September of last year," Bailey said. "Other than that, it's the minor things you feel here and there, from which I understand, is totally normal. If you have two surgeries in an eight-month period, you're going to have some scar tissue and little things here and there. Overall, everything has been a lot smoother than I expected it to be."