The Reds sent Homer Bailey to the mound on Tuesday against the Padres, marking the first time a member of the expected starting staff saw a day’s work.
Well, if you can call it that.
Bailey threw 15 pitches and left after an inning, striking out one and walking a batter as the Reds lost 7-5 at the Peoria Sports Complex.
Although the stint was short, Bailey said the staff wanted him to get some game action since there are six pitchers currently working in the rotation.
“Instead of not throwing in a game for two weeks, they just said go out there and get one inning in. You get to go through your full routine before the game. You get one inning and you slowly build into it,” Bailey said. “It’s a nice way to kind of break into things.”
The appearance was Bailey’s first since he more than doubled his paycheck, signing a one-year deal worth $5.8 million. The right-hander made $2.4 million in 2012 and was scheduled for arbitration before inking the deal.
After getting leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera to ground to second, Bailey struck out Chris Denorfia. That led to a peculiar pitch selection to start off Chase Headley, who he walked on four pitches.
“I’m not going to ever throw somebody a first-pitch split, but we did it because we had two quick outs, just so we can say we threw one today,” Bailey said. “If it were up to me I’d have just thrown all fastballs. But you’re just trying to get a feel. You’re back on the mound, you’re back in competition. You get your focus in order. You don’t quite have that touch yet, but you’re close. You’re really close.”
Johnny Cueto is expected to start today against the Diamondbacks (3:05 p.m.).
Heisey hitting: Manager Dusty Baker constantly refers to “sixth men” making a difference, using a basketball reference. He often uses the phrase in regard to Chris Heisey, the Reds’ fourth outfielder, who’s expected to spell Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce and Ryan Ludwick through the season.
Heisey’s power numbers dipped a little last year, but Baker said he sees improvement in the four-year vet. Heisey knocked in the first run of Tuesday’s game with a triple that brought home Zack Cozart.
“He’s making progress. He gave up some power last year to try to learn how to round out his game. I think this year he’s going to have some power numbers, and a rounded-out game,” Baker said of Heisey. “I see a difference in him this year, in his approach. It’s like he’s more confident, more comfortable. He’s a very valuable piece to our team.”
Flip it up: After watching outfielder Yorman Rodriguez struggle with a pair of consecutive fly balls on Monday, Baker yearned for a day when flip-down sunglasses were the norm.
Rodriguez, the team’s fifth-best prospect according to Baseball America, was hit by a ball against the Brewers after he lost it in the sun. A few minutes later, Rodriguez fought to catch another fly, falling to his knees before making the grab.
“You’ve got to keep the sun between the bill of his cap, and use (your) glove,” Baker said. “Once you look up and I see that sun reflecting off his sunglasses, I know he’s in trouble.”
But the manager gave Rodriguez credit for sticking it out after the first error.
“He stayed in there,” Baker said. “Most of them don’t stay in there after getting hit in the chest.”
Baker recalled losing a ball in spring training with the Braves, saying he had forgotten to pull his glasses out of his back pocket. Baker added that he recently asked if the team needed to have a practice for flip-down glasses, but was told it’s not necessary.
“I wish they did use the flip-downs,” Baker said. “They don’t carry them any more.”
Injury updates: Jay Bruce was held out of the lineup again Tuesday, and Baker said he’ll keep him out again today. Bruce was a late scratch Monday with a sore heel. “He’s OK. He said he could play tomorrow,” Baker said. “But he’s not gonna.” Also, third baseman Todd Frazier has been working slowly to recover from a calf strain. Baker said he felt better on Tuesday and even took batting practice, but was held out of the lineup.
High honor: Former Dayton Dragons manager Delino DeShields learned his daughter Diamond was named the Naismith Girls High School Basketball Player of the Year on Tuesday. The star led her team in Norcross, Ga., to state championships and has committed to play at North Carolina.