Rehabbing Bailey ready for next step

Rehabbing Bailey ready for next step

ST. LOUIS -- As his efforts to come back from Tommy John surgery continue, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has progressed out of extended spring in Arizona and is ready to begin a rehab assignment.

Bailey threw 51 pitches over three innings at the Reds' player development complex in Goodyear, Ariz. Up next is at least three starts in Minor League games.

"I'd like to see four innings, five innings and six innings," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "The incremental increase in innings and pitch workload and then take a look after that third Minor League outing and see where he is. From a velocity, command perspective yesterday, he was really good -- a lot of strikes with all his pitches, threw curveball, slider, split. Velocity was good. A very encouraging report on Homer."

Bailey had surgery on his elbow on May 8 of last season. If there are no setbacks, he could return next month, which would have him back in the Majors roughly 12 months after his operation.

The news was also good for left-handed starter John Lamb, who began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville on Saturday. Lamb, who is returning from December back surgery, faced Toledo and threw three innings with three earned runs, six hits, one walk, one hit batsman and four strikeouts over 65 pitches.

"He came out of it with no issues," Price said. "It looked like the velocity was good at 88-92 [mph]. He threw all of his pitches. I think it's really a matter of just building up his stamina."

Worth noting

Michael Lorenzen, who was on the disabled list with a right elbow strain before being further sidetracked with a bout of mono, resumed throwing on Saturday. Lorenzen played catch with no complication. The club is trying to get Lorenzen's weight and strength back after he lost 20 pounds during his illness.

Lorenzen came to Spring Training to compete for a rotation spot, but he was injured after one outing. A question that hovers is if the Reds will get the right-hander built back up to be a starter this season or if they go a more express route and use him to bolster a bullpen that has struggled this season.

"I think a lot of it may have to do with how he progresses and what the need is," Price said. "I think he can help us in either spot. But with all these guys coming off the DL, I think we'll have to discuss if he can come in and fortify our bullpen and if that would be considered a step backwards or a step in the right direction for this current club.

"We are going to be heavy with starters -- knock on wood if we stay healthy -- here in the next two or three weeks. We are going to define of this group who is going to be in the bullpen, who's going to be in the rotation and who's going to be in Triple-A as our depth."

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