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08/10/08 1:18 PM ET

Bailey to work on winning in Triple-A

Highly touted hurler optioned after not recording 'W' in Majors

CINCINNATI -- Manager Dusty Baker had a short answer to the question Sunday morning about what he wanted Homer Bailey to do now that the highly regarded right-hander was being shipped to Triple-A Louisville.

"Win," Baker said.

Simple advice, indeed.

Unfortunately for Bailey, winning hasn't been something he'd done much of this season, a tiny matter that hadn't slipped his mind.

"I don't know if they really want me," Bailey said jokingly of the first-place Bats. "I ain't got a win since April. 'No, we don't want him.'"

Packing his gear as he readied for the trek southward, Bailey kidded that the Reds might have been wiser to send him to Class A, where he'd be unable, as he said, to mess up a run to the playoffs.

But as he put aside the joking, Bailey sounded as if a one-ton weight had been lifted from his slender shoulders. The grand expectations that had followed him to the Major Leagues might not be such an albatross in Triple-A, where he picked up his lone win of the season earlier in the year.

Bailey remembered how great the morale was in Louisville, and he certainly didn't forget how much easier life was on a winning ballclub.

"It isn't the Major Leagues, but guys were winning," Bailey said. "I hopefully can help those guys win."

And win a few games for himself, which would suit Baker. Improving would be good for Baker, as well.

But at the top of Baker's to-do list for Bailey is "win."

"You don't know how important that word is to me," Baker said. "Sometimes, you've got to learn how to win, too."

Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.