GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Instead of his second start coming in a Major League exhibition game on Friday, the Reds decided to start pitcher Homer Bailey that day in a Minor League game.
Bailey, who is working back from September surgery that repaired a torn flexor mass tendon near his right elbow, pitched two scoreless innings in a Triple-A game on Sunday.
Although Bailey has had no setbacks in his rehab from the surgery, he is behind schedule and expected to begin the regular season on the 15-day disabled list. Putting him in a Minor League game, rather than a big league outing, helps the club to backdate his DL time. A big league game this late in camp would restart the clock.
"We're on top of that," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Wednesday. "Backdating, we have to be aware of that so we don't pitch him in a game and find out it would affect our ability to activate him when we want him to during the season."
Meanwhile, Mike Leake, who is on schedule to begin the season normally, is also having his start moved to a game on the Minor League side on Saturday. The change was made for the club to have more control over the outing. Leake can not only reach his desired pitch count, but also guarantee he's able to get up and down six or seven times.
"Start No. 5 in Spring Training for most starters is the most important because you almost have to get your innings and pitch allotment in that start or you have to go into your last Spring Training start trying to accomplish all those things," Price said. "I've seen it before where a guy gets knocked out in the second inning and has to go to the bullpen to throw four simulated innings and it's not nearly as productive."
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.