Outlook: Phillips' RBI tally masks eroding skill set

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It hasn't been a robust spring offensively for Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who was batting .161 with a .235 on-base percentage entering Monday's Cactus League action against the Indians.

On Sunday vs. the A's, however, Phillips crushed a two-run homer in the seventh inning with a nice swing that left no doubt the ball was clearing the left-field fence. It was the game-winner in a 7-6 victory.

"It was terrific for a multitude of reasons. No. 1, it was nice to see him really barrel up a pitch and drive it," Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Phillips struggled offensively down the stretch last season, partly because of the effects of being hit by a pitch on his left forearm on June 1. After considering multiple options, Phillips and the team decided against surgery.

Instead, Phillips went the route of therapy and rehabilitation.

"Since he's been here when he was hitting, it's been a non-issue," Price said. "I think it's more of a timing thing. He's seeing the ball really well. Talking to him, he feels like he's going out trying to get pitches a little bit early in his swing. It's just a matter of seeing more pitches, having more at-bats and getting his timing down. I couldn't be less concerned about his spring offense to this point."

Bailey questionable for start against Royals

LAD@CIN: Bailey tosses three hitless frames

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Still working back from a mild right groin strain, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey is not a lock to make his next start on Friday vs. the Royals.

"I would say at this point in time it's questionable," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We don't know for sure. He has made improvement, but with a groin, just like a hamstring, we would want him to take the field without concern of re-injury or making a relatively benign issue a significant one."

Bailey was scratched from his last scheduled start on Saturday against the Brewers after he was injured while throwing last Friday.

"Every day it gets a little bit better," said Bailey, who signed a six-year, $105 million contract in February. "It's a little bruised up [Monday] just from some of the treatment we were doing."

Bailey was also non-committal over whether he thought he could make the next start.

"We'll see. I threw a little bit [Sunday]," Bailey said. "I knew there was a certain point where I had to start backing off once my stride gets a little further."

S. Marshall reports no problems after bullpen

CIN@HOU: Marshall returns to pitch a perfect ninth

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds reliever Sean Marshall, who has been bothered by a sore left shoulder for much of camp, threw off of a mound in the bullpen for the second time on Monday. Marshall threw 30 pitches and showed no visible signs of discomfort.

Considering he has yet to get into a game this spring, Marshall is expected to begin the regular season on the disabled list. He was limited to 16 appearances last season because of shoulder injuries.

"I'm disappointed," Marshall said before his bullpen session. "I've kind of struggled with this shoulder a little bit where I can't rush. I did rush at the beginning. I had a good throwing program and when I got here in camp, I ramped it up too quick, too early. I threw a 60-pitch bullpen one day working on things. I felt the repercussions of that a couple of days later. I know I can't rush. I have to stay on their pace that the therapists and trainers recommend. I don't think I will be that much behind."

Marshall has been working to fine-tune his delivery to try and prevent more shoulder irritation.

"I've felt really good the last three days and I bounced back good," Marshall said. "I had the slow down at the beginning of camp but I've made steady progress since then. ... The thing about me is, I do a little too much. That's what they're saying. They want me to throw 15 pitches and I will throw 25-30 pitches. I think that's what led to them slowing me down earlier in camp."

Reds mulling multitude of roster possibilities

Bryan Price on his first season with the Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With exactly two weeks remaining before Opening Day, the Reds are faced with numerous roster questions -- in part because of injuries. Manager Bryan Price, the coaches and front office have to consider who fits the club's needs, and also how some could be added to the big league roster.

"It's really important to get a better understanding of what our roster could look like if guys like [Jack] Hannahan, [Sean] Marshall, [Jonathan] Broxton and [Mat] Latos aren't ready for the season," Price said. "Some of those that I mentioned, we aren't confident they will start the year with us."

If Latos isn't able to return from left knee surgery in time for Opening Day, Alfredo Simon would shift from the bullpen to take his place in the rotation. Broxton (forearm) and Marshall (shoulder) not being ready would mean three open bullpen spots for five leading contenders -- Pedro Beato, Trevor Bell, Nick Christiani, Jose Diaz and Lee Hyde.

Hannahan was slow to return from shoulder surgery and resumed playing this week. Ramon Santiago, Chris Nelson, Kris Negron, Neftali Soto are seeking infield spots. Non-roster invites Roger Bernadina and Jason Bourgeois are vying for outfield spots.

"We have to take a hard look at the guys that are ... and where our depth is," Price said. "Are we better served with having another outfielder? There are guys out there that have really been impressive. The question will be what are our needs breaking camp? If Hannahan isn't ready to go, do we need somebody that can spell [Todd] Frazier? Do we need somebody that gives us a stronger bench bat, pinch-hitting? Someone that can steal a base for us? Those will be some of the questions we try to answer these next two weeks."

Also complicating matters are contracts. For example, Bernadina can opt-out of his Minor League contract on Tuesday if he doesn't think he will make the team.

"You don't want to be held hostage by those situations," Price said. "Guys we have in camp we like, we like that they're here. We like the depth they provide. We feel like many of them could help our club this year either on Opening Day or at some point during the year. That's why we got these guys. We got them to provide support if we had injuries, No. 1, and support for depth over the course of the season."

Worth noting

• The Reds will use Rob Coughlin as their replay coordinator to alert the bench when manager Bryan Price should ask for a review on disputed calls this season. Coughlin already serves as the team's video coordinator and will continue in that capacity as well.