Bailey feels good after starting in Minor League game

Reds righty allows one hit in first appearance since surgery

Bailey feels good after starting in Minor League game

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- In his first game since having surgery in September, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey worked two scoreless innings during a Minor League start on Sunday.

Bailey allowed one hit and one walk with two strikeouts while throwing 29 pitches, including 20 for strikes, in a Triple-A game vs. the Indians. He felt like the outing went pretty good and more important, there were no health issues.

"My elbow felt great," Bailey said. "We started with two innings. We'll just kind of go from there."

Bailey had surgery on Sept. 5 to repair a torn flexor mass tendon near his elbow.

Catcher Brayan Pena worked behind the plate for Bailey while pitching coach Jeff Pico and Reds owner/CEO Bob Castellini were among those watching on a field at the team complex.

Bailey's dominant start

At one point, Bailey yelled at himself after firing a pitch, which had Pena immediately asking if the right-hander was feeling OK.

"I just missed a spot," Bailey said. "I was trying to go in and kind of missed up. I got a swing and miss but I was mad I didn't make the pitch. I didn't think about that. I might have yelled more if I was hurt again. Everything was fine. You get in game situations, the last thing you want to think about is your health. You just want to compete and go throw. If something comes up, it will let you know. In my mind, I'm preparing for a season, not just coming back from an injury."

In a 16-pitch first inning, Bailey issued a two-out walk but escaped with a called strikeout on three pitches. In the second inning, he threw more secondary pitches and started his first three hitters with off-speed stuff. He struck out the leadoff batter with an 85-mph slider. There was a two-out double to right field before a groundout to third base finished the outing.

"Even before the game with Brayan [Pena], I felt 'let's mix it up and start playing around if you will.' We mixed in some sliders, splits and stuff like that," Bailey said. "We've already faced hitters once [in live batting practice] but with the speed of the game, it was really great to be out there. It was a nice, hot day so that helps too."

Bailey is slated to make his next start on Friday in a Cactus League game vs. the Brewers. Although there have been no setbacks since his surgery, he will likely begin the regular season on the disabled list and miss one or two starts.

"At this time of year, it doesn't really matter about the games themselves," Bailey said. "It's as long as we're in games in general."

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.