"How do you say, 'Where should I be? Should I be ahead of this? Should I be able to do better? Should I not be able to?' the 28-year-old right-hander said. "That's a tough question to answer. Where should I be? This is where I'm at. You still have to go out there and compete."
Bailey also went 5 2/3 innings in his first start, allowing five runs on nine hits in a 5-2 loss to the Cardinals. In that game, he did not strike out a batter, walking one. Against the Brewers, he struck out three and walked one.
"I thought he managed the game better," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I don't think he had as good as stuff just as far as sheer velocity, but I think this is kind of the road we're going to travel until he's 100 percent. When I say 100 percent, meaning that he's able to build up the resilience and things of that nature that come with guys coming off of an elbow surgery."
"So, there will be some bumps along the road, I imagine with how he feels and the type of stuff that he has, but he will, I think continue to get better," Price said. "Today I thought he managed the game well without his best stuff."
Both of the Brewers' run off Bailey were leadoff homers, Adam Lind in the second and Aramis Ramirez in the fifth.
"That was a fastball," Bailey said of the pitch to Ramirez. "I was trying to go away and it pulled in a little bit. On a 2-0 count, it's not a good pitch."
When asked if he was where he thought he'd be in his return from surgery, Bailey admitted he wasn't sure.
"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "Obviously, this is my first time going through arm surgery. This is just part of it. You go out there, do your job and try to win the game.
"There are always times, even if it's not velocity, it might be something else," Bailey said. "Maybe your back is tight or your legs or something like that. This time, it's just pretty acute. Other times, it could be something else. You just pitch with what you have."
The important thing, Bailey said, is that he's ready to take the ball again for his next scheduled start.