Bailey could return to Reds' rotation soon

Bailey could return to Reds' rotation soon

CINCINNATI -- An off-day in San Diego next week could end up being beneficial to the Reds in more than one way.

Besides the locale, if things go the way Reds manager Bryan Price hopes they go, next Thursday's off-day could allow him to keep his starting pitching rotation intact without need of a replacement before Homer Bailey possibly rejoins the team.

Bailey, who hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues in 15 months as he makes a comeback from Tommy John surgery, is due to make his sixth rehabilitation start with Triple-A Louisville on Monday. The Reds will make a decision on whether Bailey needs more time in the Minors or is ready to regain his turn in the rotation.

Bailey pitched 5 1/3 innings this past Wednesday against Columbus, allowing five runs on six hits. Three of those hits were home runs. He reached 83 pitches but pulled himself out of the game when he began feeling tired.

"Very good for five innings, and got tired in the sixth," was how Price described that outing. "He was smart enough to not force himself through something … I think it's realistic to see him get beyond 90 pitches in this next outing, and then sit down with him and figure out if he's ready to go."

Keyvius Sampson will make his first start of the season on Saturday against Arizona, filling in the rotation spot left open when the Reds optioned John Lamb to Louisville last Sunday.

The Reds begin a six-game trip to the West Coast on Monday when the play at San Francisco. They'll get that off-day on Thursday before beginning a three-game weekend series on Friday against the Padres in San Diego.

Sampson began the season in Cincinnati but has twice been sent down to Louisville. This will be his eighth appearance for the Reds, the last three of which have gone at least 2 2/3 innings. He has made nine starts for Louisville this season, going 2-3 with a 1.29 ERA. Sampson made 12 starts for the Reds last season.

"I love starting. I'm just going to go out there and give them as much as I've got as far as innings and pitches," said Sampson.

Kevin Goheen is a contributor for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.