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Bailey could make 2017 debut this week

MLB.com @m_sheldon

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Reds and manager Bryan Price were still keeping their rotation plans for this weekend vs. the Nationals under the wraps on Tuesday. But all signs were pointing to Homer Bailey as being one of the starters, and making his 2017 debut in that series.

In his third rehab assignment start, Bailey gave up two earned runs, seven hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville. He struck out six and surrendered a home run. He is 3-0 with 1.08 ERA in three starts for Louisville, Double-A Pensacola and Class A Dayton.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- The Reds and manager Bryan Price were still keeping their rotation plans for this weekend vs. the Nationals under the wraps on Tuesday. But all signs were pointing to Homer Bailey as being one of the starters, and making his 2017 debut in that series.

In his third rehab assignment start, Bailey gave up two earned runs, seven hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville. He struck out six and surrendered a home run. He is 3-0 with 1.08 ERA in three starts for Louisville, Double-A Pensacola and Class A Dayton.

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"He's going to throw a bullpen [Wednesday]. We should have a better idea of the possibility of him pitching in the Nationals series," Price said. "That will be decided here in short order. We got great reports and I spoke with Homer this morning. He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes and was just feeling really good like he was right there at the tail end, if not finished, with his rehab."

Bailey had arthroscopic surgery on Feb. 18 to remove bone spurs from his right elbow, his third procedure since 2014. He's also had surgery to repair a torn flexor mass tendon and Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Ultimately, the Reds will want to hear from Bailey, himself, that he's ready to take the mound for them again. They currently have two rotation spots vacant.

"We wouldn't do it if he didn't say that," Price said. "It's not 100 percent, it's one box to check off. But once you have the trainers, the pitching coaches work with him and say they like what they're seeing, then we get Homer saying, 'Hey, I feel great, I feel like I am ready to go,' then you just make an organizational decision on if he's pitched enough, and if we're all satisfied with his workload.

I think we're very close. I think it's probable he will pitch for us the next time through the rotation unless there is some reason after this bullpen to decide to give him another [rehab] start."

Worth noting

• The Reds announced that right-handed starting pitcher Asher Wojciechowski cleared waivers and was sent outright to Louisville. Wojciechowski was designated for assignment on Sunday.

• During the second inning of the Reds' 7-3 win over Tampa Bay on Monday, right fielder Scott Schebler crushed a Jake Odorizzi split-fingered fastball for a double to right field. According to Statcast™, the exit velocity on the drive was 109.5 mph, his third-hardest batted ball of the season -- behind a 110.8 mph homer on May 21 and a 110.4 mph double on April 24.

"Yeah, I got that one good," Schebler said. "He's a two-pitch pitcher, and he just works the top of the zone so well. It looks so good, you're never going to catch up to it. It's the way he throws. That was a splitty and I was looking up in the zone. I said, 'All right, I'm going to sell out,' and I got a really good swing off of that one. Anytime you get out in front like that, you're going to smack it pretty well."

In the fifth inning vs. Odorizzi, Schebler hit a homer to right field that was tracked at 103.8 mph.

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, Homer Bailey