CINCINNATI -- When asked Friday if anything was new, avid hunter Homer Bailey replied with a big smile: "Well, I've got a new bow."

Bailey buried the lead, as writers would say, since he also learned that he would be replacing the suspended Johnny Cueto to start Sunday vs. the Marlins. It will be his first start since May 23 at Cleveland. The right-hander has been on the disabled list because of right shoulder inflammation.

In four Minor League rehab games (including three starts), Bailey was 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA, four walks and 17 strikeouts with Class A Dayton and Triple-A Louisville.

"I was healthy and getting my pitch count up, [and] obviously I was throwing well," Bailey said. "I will just do whatever they say."

Cueto was suspended seven games for actions during Tuesday's melee with the Cardinals. A roster move will be needed to get Bailey back on the roster since Cueto cannot be replaced.

Bailey, 24, is 1-2 with a 5.51 ERA in nine starts for the Reds this season. There was speculation that he might start Saturday for Mike Leake because his past outing on Tuesday was altered from a planned start to a one-inning relief appearance. Leake is still taking his turn on Saturday for Cincinnati. There was a chance Bailey could have returned and gone to the bullpen.

"They didn't know what day I would be starting and also if I came up and they used me out of the 'pen, at least I'd have one go at it so I could feel it out," said Bailey, who has little to no experience as a reliever.

The Reds will have some decisions to make soon about which five starters they'll want for the stretch run. Besides Cueto's eventual return, Travis Wood can be recalled from the Minors soon and Aaron Harang is about to start a rehab assignment to come back from an injured back.

"We still have a month and half, so the pennant race hasn't really started for another two or three weeks, not until you get to the wire," Bailey said. "If you're thinking about the pennant race, you're not going to end up being in it. We need to take everything one day at a time, so it's just a start."

Suspended Baker takes to suite Friday

CINCINNATI -- Just like the thousands of fans inside Great American Ball Park, Reds manager Dusty Baker will be another spectator of the games on Friday and Saturday. He will be serving his two-game suspension stemming from Tuesday's benches-clearing donnybrook vs. the Cardinals.

Baker will watch both games from general manager Walt Jocketty's suite adjacent to the press box. There were few other options.

"They have a new rule that you're not allowed to stay in the clubhouse or my office anymore," Baker said. "There was a manager that was suspended trying to manage from the tunnel and got busted, which I wouldn't do. The choices were to either go watch it in the stands, which is impossible, go to Walt's box, go home, which is impossible, or help Marty."

That's Marty, as in Brennaman, the Reds' radio broadcaster.

"I'll put you to work. You're a former broadcaster," Brennaman said.

"You said the right word, 'former,'" Baker replied, laughing.

While Baker is suspended, bench coach Chris Speier will be acting manager during the games.

"I made up the lineup and I am just doing my normal work. I will follow the game and get ready for Sunday," Baker said.

Worth noting

The combined numbers for the last four starting pitchers the Reds have faced -- Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals and the Marlins' Josh Johnson -- were 50-18 with a 2.38 ERA entering Friday's matchup with the Marlins. All four rank in the top 10 in the league in ERA. ... Friday marked the 27th day this summer that a heat emergency was declared in Cincinnati. There were only four such days last season. ... Left fielder Jonny Gomes has been stuck on 99 career home runs since July 19.