Notes: For Bailey, it's just one outing
Righty roughed up by Indians, but prospect stays positive
SARASOTA, Fla. -- His latest pitching line was hit with an ugly stick on Friday, but Reds' top prospect Homer Bailey's perspective and sense of humor remained intact.Against the Indians, Bailey gave up five earned runs and three hits, including two home runs, in just two-thirds of an inning. The right-hander also issued two walks and hit a batter. Already in the clubhouse, teammate Josh Hamilton missed the performance. When Hamilton came out of the shower and saw Bailey surrounded by reporters, he curiously asked, "Homer, how'd you do?" "I put up a nice five spot in the fifth, but thanks for asking!" Bailey responded with a big smile. "Sun's coming up tomorrow, boys," Bailey told the reporters. "Everyone's going to have their bad ones, right?" Entering with a 2-1 lead, Bailey clearly struggled with his command while working in relief during the fifth inning. He hit his first batter with a two-strike pitch, and then allowed a four-pitch walk. Mike Rouse followed that up with a three-run homer. Following a strikeout, Bailey walked another batter. Then, Grady Sizemore launched a two-run homer. After a flyout, David Delluci's single brought Reds manager Jerry Narron out of the dugout to remove the pitcher. "I was a little disappointed he got behind and kept throwing fastballs," Narron said. "He's got to use the other pitches a little more. If you're going to be wild, be wild with everything you have out there. You have to make some adjustments." Last season, the organization set goals for Bailey to use more changeups and offspeed pitches, and not to rely as much on his 95- to 98-mph fastball. After coming out, the righty talked in the dugout with catcher David Ross and pitching coach Dick Pole, who spotted a mechanical flaw in Bailey's delivery. "If it was the middle of the season, I'd be a little worried about it," said Bailey, the Reds' 2004 first-round draft pick. "We're not playing for keeps right now. It's not like we're hitting the panic button or anything." Although the Reds had expectations that Bailey would begin the season at Triple-A Louisville, the 20-year-old came to camp optimistic that he had an outside shot at winning the fifth starter's spot in the Majors. Through two spring outings, Bailey has allowed eight earned runs and six hits over 2 2/3 innings for a 27.00 ERA. "There's a Homer hype," Narron said. "Everybody expects him to do well. He's putting pressure on himself. We're doing it a little bit to put some pressure on him to see how he would respond to it." Bailey's confidence remained high after the bumpy ride.
"Hopefully, I'll have a lot more bad ones to come ... over a long period of time," Bailey said. "Bad ones happen. You just have to bounce back from it."Sick start: While battling the flu, pitcher Bronson Arroyo still managed to have a smooth first Grapefruit League start against the Indians. Arroyo allowed one hit and struck out three over two scoreless innings. The right-hander faced the minimum six batters. "I just went out and threw the ball 80 mph," Arroyo said. "I've been sick for five days. But my command was there." "Bronson pitched real well for a sick man," Narron said. Arroyo planned to take IV fluids to help get his strength back. He had no intention of skipping the start, especially after the illness moved last Sunday's "B" game start back a day. "I needed to see hitters to make my body sore, not for the fact of what I have to throw," Arroyo said. "I need that intensity to be there. I'm hoping this will get me over the hump. Hopefully, my next outing I can be full out." Hermanson debuts: Reliever Dustin Hermanson had an encouraging first outing for the Reds. The right-hander worked one perfect inning and struck out one. Most importantly, his back was pain free. Arroyo's shortened outing had Hermanson in the game sooner than he expected. "It was rapid fire, get ready. It was nice," said Hermanson, who was signed to a Minor League deal on Feb. 28. "Sometimes, you want that in your first outing. The back feels awesome. I wasn't too concerned with velocity and where I was throwing the balls, as much as seeing how the back felt the first time out there. It's doing great." Hermanson, the former White Sox closer, is competing for a bullpen spot. He's in the mix with several pitchers for the Reds' vacant closer's role. His rehab from a fractured and weakened vertebra suffered in 2005 limited him to just six appearances last season. Limited to bullpen sessions and simulated games since signing with Cincinnati, the 34-year old anticipated the real thing. "I did wake up at 6:30 a.m., game-faced," Hermanson said. "But as I got here to the field, I started relaxing and had fun with the guys and didn't put any pressure on myself." Narron expected Hermanson's next game to come on Monday. "If he's 100 percent healthy, we know what we've got," Narron said. "We've got a pretty good guy at the end of the bullpen." Mound work: Out with a problematic shoulder since the start of camp, reliever Gary Majewski made his first throws off a mound on Friday morning. Majewski threw 20 pitches and will rest on Saturday. If his arm responds positively, he will likely throw again on Monday. "It felt good," Majewski said of the session. "I'm anxious to pitch after watching everybody play while I'm doing rehab." It was not known when Majewski might be able to get into his first spring game. "There's no rush," Majewski said. "We want to make sure everything is OK." More injury reports: Second baseman Brandon Phillips was a late lineup scratch from Friday's game vs. Cleveland with a sore left shin. Phillips took a foul ball off his leg during his fourth-inning at-bat on Thursday. Ken Griffey Jr. (left hand) took another round of batting practice on Friday, but he did not appear to be swinging at full speed. Pitcher Kyle Lohse (strained right hamstring) threw in his regular side session. The club is still determining whether Lohse's next start will be in a real or simulated game. Coming up: The Reds are scheduled to face the Indians in Winter Haven, Fla., on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Paul Wilson will pitch for Cincinnati against Cleveland's Jake Westbrook.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.