Bailey remains optimistic after latest surgery

Bailey remains optimistic after latest surgery

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds right-hander Homer Bailey's latest elbow surgery last week, an arthroscopic procedure to remove bone chips, has him hopeful that his injury woes might finally be behind him. But Bailey also knows his own recent history all too well.

"Round 3? Sure. Yeah, we're bound to get it right this time," Bailey joked on Monday as pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training. "Trust me, I'm as frustrated as everybody, but it's not going to do any good. You just try to go forward and do what you can."

Bailey had surgery to repair a torn flexor mass tendon in 2014 and Tommy John surgery in '15. Since August '14, the 30-year-old has been limited to eight starts. He is entering the fourth year of a six-year, $105 million contract that has $68 million remaining on it.

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The latest surgery, which showed no structural damage to the elbow, means Bailey will start the season on the disabled list. He said his tentative timetable could have him pitching for Cincinnati again near the beginning of June.

"It's going to depend of how the progress is early," Bailey said. "That will kind of set a gauge on where we'd like to be."

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Bailey returned on July 31 of last season after being out 15 months rehabbing from the Tommy John surgery. In six starts, he was 2-3 with a 6.65 ERA before he was shut down again with right biceps tenderness.

Elbow trouble arose again this offseason as Bailey ramped up his throwing program for Spring Training.

"I knew it wasn't the other stuff. I went through all of that," he said. "I wasn't feeling the pain where the ligament was, or where the tendon was. It was in bunches of different places and that was mainly due to the elbow swelling. It's good that we finally got some answers."

Bailey did not let his frustration get the best of him. After his physical, he spent some time talking to teammates and remained upbeat.

"What can you do except to go forward?" he said. "We're going to let some of the swelling go down. It's just about gone right now. We'll start throwing in a couple of weeks."

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.