Bailey progressing; no timetable set to face live hitting

Right-hander throws third bullpen session in return from surgery

Bailey progressing; no timetable set to face live hitting

MESA, Ariz. -- Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey is making progress as he returns from surgery, but a date for facing hitters in live batting practice remains unknown. Bailey threw his third bullpen session of camp on Thursday.

"Before he gets too far into the live BP, we'll probably want to start to integrate a few breaking balls and make sure his recovery is good," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Friday morning. "It really is kind of an outing-to-outing reassessment for Homer. We have a map of what we expect him to do, or hope that he does, but there is no guarantee he'll follow it. It may be a slower progression or more rapid -- but so far, so good."

Bailey underwent surgery in September to repair a torn flexor mass tendon near his right elbow. His being ready for the start of the regular season has not been ruled out, but that appeared iffy at best. When he is ready, the right-hander is expected to be Cincinnati's No. 2 starter in the rotation.

Price didn't watch Bailey's most recent bullpen session, but saw the first two.

"I know that the elbow, more so than the shoulder, has typically been an easier recovery. So I don't anticipate any setbacks," Price said. "That being the case, you never know what can happen. But he looked good. His mechanics look good. That's important, and the ball is coming out of his hand really well. So we'll see. It's hard to project that. On any given day we could make the decision that we want to back him off a bit so he doesn't take any steps backwards. We don't want to throw through soreness or anything like that."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.