Homer Bailey took what manager Bryan Price described as a “big step in the right direction” during his rebab start on Friday with Triple-A Louisville.
The right-hander, who hasn’t pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2015, pitched four innings – the most of his four rehab starts. He allowed three hits and three runs, one of earned, with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 67 pitches, 44 for strikes.
“He felt good,” Price said before Saturday’s game. “He felt closer to normal.”
The 30-year-old Bailey, who’s in the third year of a six-year, $105 million contract he signed with the Reds in February 2014, is scheduled to make another rehab start Wednesday. If this was spring training, Price said, they’d be trying to get him up to six innings and 85-100 pitches before pronouncing him fit to pitch.
“We have to remember that this is still a portion of his rehab,” Price said. “We have to be reminded that he’s coming off back-to-back elbow surgeries. When he gets to the point where we can say he’s 100 percent, we’ll probably give him one more (rehab) start.”
Bailey’s 2014 season ended after 23 starts because of a right forearm injury that also required surgery.
Open Door: One day after lamenting the challenges he faced in getting Jose Peraza enough playing time, Price had an opening handed to him.
Brandon Phillips is expected to be sidelined for the immediate future with a strained right calf he suffered while swinging at a pitch in the sixth inning of Friday’s 5-4 win over Milwaukee. Peraza replaced Phillips on Friday and started Saturday’s game at second base.
“It’s a chance for Jose to come in and play and get a little bit of work,” Price said.
The start at second was the third of the season for Peraza, 22, who has made six starts in left field, two at shortstop, one in center and one at designated hitter. He went into the game hitting .243 with four runs batted in and was a perfect 9-for-9 in stolen bases.
Phillips already was playing with a hairline fracture of his left hand. The Reds don’t anticipate his absence to be lengthy.
Knotty Problem: Pitcher Alfredo Simon was tossing in the outfield before Saturday’s game, another small step on his road back from shoulder problems.
Simon, signed as a free agent shortly before the season in an effort by the Reds to add a veteran presence to their youthful staff, hasn’t pitched since June 15 and only started tossing easily in the last few days before the All-Star break, Price said.
Simon, a 2014 All-Star with the Reds, is 2-7 with a 9.45 ERA in 13 games, including 11 starts.
Next: The Reds and Brewers are scheduled to wrap up their three-game series Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Right-hander Dan Straily (4-6), who is 0-4 with a blown save over his last five starts, is Cincinnati’s scheduled starter. Right-hander Zach Davies (6-4), who is 6-1 over his last 12 starts, is due to start for Milwaukee.