Reds keep '16 return open for Hamilton, Bailey

Reds keep '16 return open for Hamilton, Bailey

PITTSBURGH -- Even with the conclusion of the season less than a month away, and with the Reds not in contention for the postseason, they are not ready to close 2016 for center fielder Billy Hamilton and starting pitcher Homer Bailey. But neither player has a targeted return date.

Hamilton has been out since Sunday with a strained left oblique and has yet to resume baseball activity. Bailey, who came back from Tommy John surgery in late July, hasn't pitched since Aug. 28 because of right biceps tenderness.

"Absolutely, there could be too much water under the bridge to make it realistic for them to play. We haven't gotten to that point, and we're not close to that point, in my opinion, with either guy," Reds manager Bryan Price said on Thursday. "But if we don't have some improvement over the course of the next period of time, it would be challenging to think they could play."

Bailey gets groundout to end 1st

Hamilton did not accompany the club on the brief four-game road trip to Pittsburgh. Bailey did travel with the team to continue his throwing program. He has been long tossing, but isn't ready to work from a mound yet. Hot-hitting Jose Peraza has gotten most of the time in center field in Hamilton's place, while Tim Adleman has taken Bailey's rotation spot.

"If Billy is inactive from baseball activity for two weeks or 10 days or whatever, then we need to decide what he needs to get back ready to go," Price said. "I think for a hitter, it might be a little easier, because he could still help as a defender and baserunner, even if he can't swing the bat -- if we're not risking re-injury by him doing the other things.

"With a pitcher, it's a little more difficult, because Homer is a starter. I don't see us using him as a relief pitcher. If he gets too far away from the mound and being stretched out, it poses some different challenges."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. 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.