Bailey to undergo Tommy John surgery
Reds right-hander expected back sometime next season
ATLANTA -- There's never a good time to shut down a pitcher, but after careful consideration, the Reds decided that was the proper course of action for right-hander Homer Bailey, who was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery. Bailey is expected to return during the 2016 season.
"After consulting with Dr. [Tim] Kremchek and other orthopedic surgeons, we determined the best option with the most predictable outcome is to surgically repair the ligament," Reds president of baseball operations and general manager Walt Jocketty said. "It does not appear the injury is at all related to the right elbow flexor mass injury Homer sustained late last season."
Kremchek, the team's medical director, will perform the surgery next Friday at Beacon Orthopaedics in Cincinnati.
Reds manager Bryan Price expressed his disappointment for Bailey, who had worked so hard during the offseason to come back after missing the end of 2014 due to elbow surgery. Bailey was activated on April 18 and appeared to be making progress after two starts.
Bailey struggled in his debut at St. Louis, allowing five runs and nine hits, including a homer, in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-2 loss, but he bounced back five days later in Milwaukee, when he again went 5 2/3, allowing only two runs (both on homers) on seven hits, striking three and not walking a batter. He did not figure in the decision in the Reds' 4-2 loss.
The soreness he felt in the days after the start was thought to be normal. Unfortunately, the pain lingered, and instead of throwing his scheduled Monday bullpen session, he made the unexpected and unwanted trip to the disabled list.
Now it's another date with Kremchek and then back to the grind of rehabbing his elbow.
Though a regrettable situation, the Reds have no regrets about making the move now as opposed to waiting and seeing how things played out.
"The two choices were to let it try to scar over and heal somewhat, but it did create a situation where, obviously, it might not mend and it might put some other parts of the elbow in jeopardy, and that didn't make any sense," Price said prior to Friday night's game with the Braves at Turner Field. "If we wait until summer or into the fall before we make a decision, he maybe misses the bulk of 2016. So I think after a lot of review, it made sense to do it. It's absolutely crushing to Homer personally and to our ballclub."
Bailey, the seventh overall selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, went 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two starts this season. The 28-year-old had made 19 starts or more for Cincinnati in every season since 2009, and he's posted a 58-51 record with a 4.19 ERA in 168 big league outings.
Bailey threw a no-hitter against Pittsburgh on Sept. 28, 2012, and he's surpassed 200 innings in a season twice. He's won double-digit games in two seasons -- 2012 and '13 -- and went 9-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 23 starts for the Reds last season.
Bailey wasn't the only elbow-related sore spot for the Reds on Friday. Minor League outfielder Donald Lutz, 26, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Lutz was hitting .190 with three doubles and three RBIs in 13 games for Triple-A Louisville.