Notes: Bailey not ignoring great advice

Notes: Bailey not ignoring great advice

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Former Reds great Jim Maloney retired from pitching in 1971, about 15 years before Reds prospect Homer Bailey was born.

Maloney is in Reds camp as a guest instructor this week helping out with the pitchers. Bailey only had limited knowledge about the right-hander.

"Only during Reds games when they'd pop up 'This day in Reds history,'" Bailey said. "It seemed like he was every other one. 'Jim Maloney threw 10 shutout innings or Jim Maloney threw another no-hitter or Jim Maloney punched out 25 or so.'"

Maloney, who pitched for Cincinnati from 1960-70, is a two-time 20-game winner who threw two no-hitters, including one that went 10 innings with 10 walks in 1965.

"You say and do anything you want with those guys," manager Dusty Baker said to Maloney. "It's no threat of you telling them the wrong thing or stepping on anybody's toes. We don't look at it like that. We look at it as trying to help us in this organization."

That's why Bailey knew enough not to let Maloney's sage advice go in one ear and out the other.

"It was pretty cool," Bailey said. "I got to talk with him, and I got to miss [pitcher-fielding practice], which was great. I really did enjoy talking to him. A lot of the things he stressed, you've heard before. There's always so much about pitching you can hear."

In Wednesday's 7-6 win over the Red Sox, Bailey started and pitched three innings. He allowed two earned runs and three hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Of his 42 pitches, 28 were strikes.

"He had strike one. He kept the ball down," Baker said. "He had good mound presence, even when he got in trouble. He had a good breaking ball today. He's looking better every time he goes out there, which is what you want."

Bailey retired Boston in order in the first inning before giving up four second-inning singles, including Kevin Cash's two-run hit. It was an indication that class is still in session for the 21-year-old, who is seeking a spot in the big league rotation.

"On the negative side, I had bases loaded with one out and got a strikeout," Bailey said. "On the next pitch, being the stubborn guy like I am, I shook off [catcher Paul] Bako to throw a curveball, and he hits it up the middle and scored two. I guess I was wrong on that one."

Bako had called for a fastball. But there were plenty of positives for Bailey to take on the bus ride home. He did a better job of getting ahead of hitters in his previous outing and made good use of his offspeed pitches.

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"I was really happy to see my changeup," said Bailey, who has a 3.60 ERA through five innings over two starts. "The ball Manny [Ramirez] hit where he flew out to left field, it was a changeup he was out in front of. The one that J.D. Drew smoked to Joey Votto [at first base] was a changeup he was out in front of. One of my strikeouts was on a changeup."

Best view in the house: Another young rotation candidate, Edinson Volquez, also pleased Baker with his 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Volquez gave up four hits and a walk and struck out four. He has a 6.75 ERA through four innings in two outings.

But Baker wanted an impartial opinion about Volquez, and who better than to ask the guy with the best viewpoint? That was Wednesday's home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora.

"He said Volquez showed a very live arm, which makes his changeup better," Baker said. "He has that dynamite fastball. Those umpires are seeing the ball moving. They're seeing the hitters' reaction to it, and a lot of times if I don't know how a guy is throwing, I'll go ask the umpire. They'll tell you."

Getting ready: New signee and outfielder Corey Patterson remained at Reds camp in Sarasota, Fla., and was slated to face pitchers in a live batting-practice session. Baker doesn't expect to use Patterson in a game until early next week.

Injury report: Outfield prospect Jay Bruce, out with a mild left quadriceps strain, hasn't played since Sunday, but he could return on Friday.

"Bruce asked to pinch-hit [on Tuesday]. I said, 'No,'" Baker said. "From my experience, if they say, 'I'm ready today,' I wait until tomorrow. Invariably, I'm not lying, the first at-bat they'll have to beat out an infield hit -- every time. Then you're like, no, don't run."

Lefty reliever Bill Bray [sore shoulder] is expected to face hitters for the first time on Thursday and throw 20-25 pitches in a simulated game. Bray has yet to appear in an exhibition game.

Yankees beware? While Baker spoke with the media in the visiting clubhouse office, a reporter's chair gave way and tipped him over backwards. Keenly aware that he was in the southern outpost of "Red Sox Nation," Baker didn't miss a beat.

"That's a Yankee trap," he said. "That might be an ejector seat."

Up next: Aaron Harang will make his second start on Thursday, when the Reds will host the Yankees at 1:05 p.m. ET in Sarasota. Chien-Ming Wang will start for New York. Matt Maloney, Francisco Cordero, Mike Stanton and David Weathers are also scheduled to pitch for Cincinnati.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.