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Bailey back at Great American for 'pen session

Veteran righty expected to make rehab start for Triple-A Louisville
MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- At last, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, who has made two rehab assignment starts, was back at Great American Ball Park on Friday for a side bullpen session.

Manager Bryan Price watched the session and liked what he saw.

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CINCINNATI -- At last, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, who has made two rehab assignment starts, was back at Great American Ball Park on Friday for a side bullpen session.

Manager Bryan Price watched the session and liked what he saw.

View Full Game Coverage

"He looked great," Price said. "He commanded all of his pitches. His arm looks like it's in great shape, especially coming off a six-inning, [76]-pitch effort for Dayton. He looked as good as ever."

On Wednesday at Class A Dayton, Bailey threw six scoreless innings with one hit, no walks and six strikeouts. At Double-A Pensacola on June 9, he threw five scoreless innings with three hits.

Up next is a start for Triple-A Louisville, and it could be the last rehab start for the right-hander, who had bone spurs removed from his elbow on Feb. 18 in an arthroscopic surgery.

"We're going to go start to start, and the first thing we certainly have to do is get the pitch count up to where we can give him a competitive chance to go out there and throw 100 pitches plus," Price said. "And to make sure that he feels sharp and that he's rebounding well. And so far he has."

Bailey, 31, had surgery to repair a torn flexor mass tendon in 2014 and Tommy John surgery in 2015 to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Since August 2014, he has been limited to eight starts. He has been injured for much of the time since he signed a six-year, $105 million contract in 2014.

Video: MIL@CIN: Finnegan catches Villar too far off the base

Meanwhile, Reds lefty Brandon Finnegan (teres major strain) was scheduled for a rehab assignment start on Friday night at Pensacola. In his first start on June 10, Finnegan worked three scoreless innings.

It's possible that the Reds could have both Bailey and Finnegan in their rotation by the end of this month. Price acknowledged he's thinking about what the makeup of his rotation might look like in the near future.

"I think you look at it just because you have to. In the same respect, until they're activated pitchers, things can change," Price said. "I do think that it's important that we do assess the entire rotation and take a look at what's our best rotation with Finnegan and Homer coming back and what's our best bullpen with those two coming back into the rotation and then having to make some decisions with the starters that don't remain in the bullpen."

Worth noting

• Catcher Stuart Turner, who has been on the 10-day DL with a right hamstring strain since May 20, is at the end of his rehab assignment with Louisville and could be activated on Sunday. Will the Reds stay with a four-man bench and eight relievers or a five-man bench and seven relievers? As a Rule 5 player, Turner must stay on the 25-man roster all season or he would be lost to his former club.

"I would prefer not to go to a four-man bench with two of those guys being catchers," Price said. "And in the same respect, we've noticed the importance and the need to have true length in our bullpen.

"It's going to be really hard. But we kind of knew that when we made the selection in the Rule 5 that we anticipated having both Devin Mesoraco and Tucker Barnhart healthy at some point during the season, and they are, so there's not a lot of time and we really want to keep Stuart."

• The Reds agreed to terms with their fourth-round Draft pick, shortstop Cash Case. According to MLB.com's Jim Callis, Case received a $1 million bonus -- above the slot value of $501,900 for the 107th overall selection.

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