The Reds expect Homer Bailey to take the mound just under 12 months from the date of his Tommy John surgery. Dr. Tim Kremchek performed the procedure on May 8, 2015 and manager Bryan Price reiterated this week that Bailey is projected to make his first start around May 1. The Texan threw two innings of live batting practice on Thursday.

“He looks to be ready right around May 1,” Price said before Bailey threw 16 pitches, took a breather and tossed another 14. “We’re going to get him stretched out. Our typical protocol in Spring Training is to get our starters six starts unless there’s a reason why we don’t, a setback in Spring Training or they get started a little bit later for some reason.

“But we want to get him a minimum of six starts and get him stretched out to 95 or 100 pitches. Get him up to the highest level of Minor League baseball where he’s pitching to better hitters there at the end.” (Barry Bloom,


Reds hitters who had faced Bailey in his prior live batting practices reported good things.

(Scott) Schebler, who had never faced Bailey before, was certainly impressed with what he saw from his vantage point in the batter’s box.

“Really good stuff, he threw some splitties that were absolutely disgusting, but overall, I was really impressed,” Schebler said. “He looked pretty polished. His fastball had some great life to it and his splitty was really, really good. Some of them were cutting, some of them were dropping off the face of the Earth, it was really impressive. He was around the zone with it, too, which is even more impressive, because sometimes those pitches you can get erratic with it. He was around the zone with it the whole time. … It was impressive, that’s all I can say.”

None of the four put a ball in play against Bailey, but did foul off a few pitches.

Before the outing, Price said he’s been encouraged by what he’s seen so far. “It’s like normal Homer,” he said. (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)

Orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and trainers have varying rehab schedules, although timelines are converging around a common best practices schedule. Typically, pitchers begin long tossing 4-5 months after surgery and build up to throwing normal bullpen sessions off a mound 8-10 months after surgery.

For a while, the standard protocol for the time between UCL reconstruction and the return to start a major league game was 12-18 months. Now, many consider it closer to 9-12 months (Will Carroll). Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman returned 12 months after their TJS. Younger pitchers are generally given more time than veterans. What to expect from those pitchers? Studies show they commonly return to their pre-injury level of performance after a period of adjustment. Some data suggests a slower aging curve for careers interrupted by Tommy John surgery.

Price repeated that the Reds feel Bailey could have been ready to pitch Opening Day.

Walking away from Field 2 after the session, Price confirmed that May 1 was indeed the projected date for Bailey to return to the Majors. He also said he was not concerned with the accelerated pace of Bailey’s comeback.

“He would have been ready for Opening Day, but we didn’t want to push him,” Price said.

If the Reds stick exactly to the May 1 return date for Bailey, he will take the mound against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on a Sunday afternoon. If the Reds wait until May 2, Bailey would pitch against the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ball Park.

The Pirates and Giants have one thing in common. They’ve both been victims of Homer Bailey no-hitters.

13 Responses

  1. David

    Actually, almost hard to believe it was 2013 when Homer was last truly healthy.

    The groin problem in early 2014, then tearing his forearm muscle in later 2014, then the TJ surgery in early 2015.

    Maybe the Reds get a little good luck for a change.

    • lwblogger2

      That would be welcome. Some good luck!

  2. VaRedsFan

    Hurry back Homer!!!! Starters in both games got blown up again.

  3. Gene McLean

    Finnegan and Lorenzen, when / if he comes back, need to be at the back of the bullpen…The rotation, on May 1, needs to be as follows: Bailey, Iglesias, Stephenson, Reed, DeScalfani / Simon. The bullpen needs to be, at that time, the following: Lorenzen, Finnegan, Hoover, Cingrani, Lamb, Simon, Ohlendorf…If they would commit to this staff, then they would have a shot at least being in a few games…

    • Chuck Schick

      Unless they are overwhelmed by injuries, Stephenson will not be here May 1. Why start the service time clock when he is still raw enough to be able to improve in Louisville?

      • lwblogger2

        Agreed. No reason to start their clocks and neither are probably really ready.

    • PDunc

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the pitching staff you listed is close to reality by the end of this season or beginning of next season. May 1 is too early for Stephenson and Reed though.

  4. James

    May 1? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  5. Patrick Jeter

    I’m looking forward to seeing Homer pitch this year. He’ll be a large part of the equation if the Reds are to be competitive again in 2017/2018.

  6. Daytonian

    Opening day rotation: Simon (unless this undermine Disco’s confidence–it shouldn’t; and it takes some pressure off Disco), DeSclafani, Iglesias, Finnigin, and Sampson. Sampson is just a short-term fill for only a few games if Homer is truly prepped for May. He and Finnigin get bumped to the bullpen as Homer and others get healthy.

  7. lwblogger2

    I read somewhere that Dr. Andrews generally liked a longer recovery period and less aggressive schedule but I would think it comes down to the individual who is recovering from the surgery. A general protocol from returning from pretty much any injury requiring surgery is you keep progressing until you hit a snag. Then you try to work around or through the snag, depending on what it is. I’m not a medical professional but have had my share of injuries and know a lot of guys (and gals) who have had their share of injuries too. If the Reds think Homer will be ready May 1st, then he’ll likely be ready by May 1st. They, and Homer, know a lot more about his particular situation than any of us.

  8. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I’ve always said I don’t believe Homer will be back on a major league mound in a major league game with no recurrence, at 100%, until after the AS break. I do definitely hope I am wrong. I just have little trust in this medical/training staff.

    Oh, he may be on the mound May 1. But, will he be strong enough for 6 innings? Will they be a 6 innings conducive of a #1 starter? Will he be able to repeat that consistently?

    Then, with that contract, I can’t help thinking, only a small part of me, the best thing that can happen for the Reds this season, if they don’t win the division, etc., is Homer has a good season, good enough that we trade him off to a contender who needs some starting pitching. Sorry, but I don’t believe he’s good enough for that contract. Oh, he has the potential for it, yes. But, he has yet to realize much of anything along the lines of #1 potential.