I was on hand to watch Homer Bailey throw his third rehab start for the Louisville Bats Thursday night. Bailey was a little iffy on command but the velocity was up from his previous starts (he sat 93-94 instead of just touching those numbers once or twice) and he seemed much more relaxed on the mound. He threw 51 pitches through 3 2/3 innings with one strikeout and no walks.

I spoke to Bats manager Delino DeShields and Bailey after the game.

DeShields on Bailey: The ball was coming out a lot cleaner. I thought Homer made some real strides tonight.

I asked Bailey to talk about where he was in the process:

“It feels like I’m the third start in from spring training. There’s going to be things we take away from it that are good, there’s going to be things we need to improve on… One thing I’ve mentioned to guys here is that my goal is to not walk anybody… Tonight, I gave up a home run on a 3-1 count to a big power hitting guy, I’m not walking him. I’m gonna try and be in the zone. And that’s where I have control, I just don’t have command yet. It’s not quite coming out like it was before, but it’s going to get there because every time it’s a little bit better.”

Bailey said he expects to make 1-2 more rehab starts but demurred when asked what would happen after that. Also said he had some in the tank and came out only because of the pitch count he was on tonight. It was clear that Homer was trying to work on very specific things and, at times, that led to poor results. In other words, it really was like a spring training start.