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04/24/08 1:15 PM ET
Reds don't want to rush Bailey, Bruce
Pitcher, outfielder developing, growing at Triple-A Louisville
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Two-fifths of the Reds' rotation hasn't been getting it done. The offense has sputtered as some hitters have been slow to heat up. Help is only a phone call away at Triple-A Louisville, where the organization's top two prospects -- pitcher Homer Bailey and outfielder Jay Bruce -- just happen to be flourishing. Manager Dusty Baker said on Thursday that promoting Bailey and Bruce was a consideration, but indicated it wasn't the preferred one yet. "The thing about it, though, is you don't want to stunt their progress and growth," Baker said. "It's very tempting to think only of today vs. thinking what's right for them and us in the long run, for years to come. A month can be worth years in terms of experience and confidence." Veteran Bronson Arroyo was roughed up again in a 9-3 loss to the Astros on Wednesday and has yet to provide a six-inning start or get a win this season. The fifth-spot was first occupied by Josh Fogg, who struggled. Fogg's replacement, Matt Belisle, was pounded on Monday by the Dodgers. Bailey is 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA in four starts. He has four walks and 16 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings. Baker's reports say that the 21-year-old has cut down on his pitch count and shortened his delivery to better hold runners. Bruce, the top prospect in all of baseball, entered Thursday batting .315 with three home runs and 12 RBIs. Baker wasn't prepared to say that either Bailey or Bruce was ready for promotions. Baker has only viewed reports, but is, obviously, unable to see their improvements with his own eye. The manager also wasn't willing to say the Reds needed the prospects. "Need is not the issue right now," Baker said. "The issue is we've got guys here that have done the job and are about to do the job. You're telling me Adam Dunn is not going to hit 40 home runs? You're telling me [Ken Griffey Jr.] isn't going to hit 30 home runs, no matter how they've started? Is three weeks enough to say that they're ready for here? "I'm dying for them to get here. I really am. I'm excited for when they get here. But sometimes you have sit on your hands and let them play. It's best for them."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.