Bailey restarts rehab with one-inning outing

Right-hander makes first start since April 26 in return from TJ surgery

June 28th, 2016
Homer Bailey allowed two runs on a pair of solo homers in his rehab start on Monday. (AP)

CINCINNATI -- Homer Bailey got underway with his second try at a rehab assignment Monday night. While the stats from the Reds right-hander's brief outing with the Triple-A Louisville Bats may cause more concern than optimism, that would be the wrong way to look at things, said manager Bryan Price.

Bailey, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2015, had been scheduled to throw two innings Monday against Buffalo, but that was cut to just one inning after Bailey sensed he had reached the limit his arm was ready to handle. He finished with 25 pitches, 17 of them for strikes. Bailey struck out one but gave up two runs, each on solo home runs, among three hits in the inning.

"He had zero physical issues," said Price. "He just didn't feel like he had the big arm. That's something that you build into. He's been doing rehab for so long to try to get back to that game situation. He just didn't feel like he had his best stuff, but he had zero physical issues."

Bailey started down this rehab assignment road once before this season. After staying at the club's player development complex in Goodyear, Ariz., for extended spring training, Bailey made his first game appearance for Louisville on April 21. He made 67 pitches over 3 2/3 innings that night, giving up two runs on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

He returned to the mound five days later and threw 78 pitches over four innings for Double-A Pensacola, allowing five runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks. It appeared at that point that Bailey was making progress toward being able to join the Reds in May, but his third rehab start was scratched for precautionary measures.

That precaution turned into Bailey being shut down from throwing for a 10-day period before resuming a program to gradually build back his arm strength.

Bailey is scheduled to pitch again on Saturday for Louisville against Gwinnett.

"We're checking off the health box number one every time," said Price. "We'll get to stuff, command, quality of his off-speed pitches and overall effectiveness as he builds up arm strength and gets stretched out."

Worth noting

• Tuesday is Brandon Phillips' 35th birthday. After getting a day off on Monday, the second baseman was back in the lineup, hitting third. Phillips began the season on a hot streak, hitting .297/.324/.554 with six home runs, six doubles and 16 RBIs through his first 27 games. His last 43 games haven't been so productive, as he's hitting .227/.268/.279 with no home runs, nine doubles and 13 RBIs since May 8.

Price said he has no thought of moving Phillips out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Joey Votto, who has hit No. 2 in 25 of his last 29 starts, is hitting .325/.471/.538 since the calendar turned to June. Votto was hitting .213/.330/.404 over the first two months of the season. It's part of the ebb and flow of a season, said Price.

"Brandon lately hasn't been as good as he was early, but he'll rebound," said Price. "When you see him driving balls out to right-center and hitting hard line drives between the outfielders or back up the middle, you know he's locked in."