The Cincinnati Reds have announced that starting pitcher Homer Bailey has been activated from of the 60-day disabled list and is scheduled to make his season debut against the Padres on Sunday. It’s been a tough road for Bailey, who has been forced to go under the knife due to elbow injuries twice since September of 2014. With Bailey’s return, the Reds have optioned outfielder Kyle Waldrop back to Triple-A Louisville to find some more regular playing time. In order to make room on the 40-man roster, reliever Caleb Cotham was transferred to the 60-day disabled list as he works to overcome shoulder inflammation and a sore knee.
During the 2015 season, Bailey was only able to get through two starts before opting to have Tommy John surgery in May. In those two starts, the results were ugly. He would pitch a total of 11 1/3 innings, posting a 5.56 ERA with a 3.2 BB/9 and 2.4 K/9. The injury had completely robbed Bailey of his stuff, making it a very easy decision to opt for surgery instead of rehab. Losing Bailey to Tommy John was a huge loss for the Reds, who at the time already had a pitching staff that was considered weak by most. On top of the injury concerns, the six-year, $105 million deal he signed prior to the 2014 season was beginning to look like a huge mess for the rebuilding Reds’ front office.
It has been about 14 months since Bailey originally underwent Tommy John surgery, so it seems he has taken the time to come back and make sure he’s one hundred percent. He did suffer one small setback in late April though, when he felt some pain in his elbow during a rehab assignment at Double-A Pensacola. After being shut down for a bit, his comeback was slowed considerably, but he returned to his rehab assignment on June 27th. Since then, Bailey has registered a 5.75 ERA across 20 1/3 innings. During this span, Homer has struck out 13 and walked seven as he looks to regain feel for his arsenal. The right-hander seems to finally be healthy once again, which is the biggest thing to pull away from this entire rehab process. If he can get back on the mound every five days and regain his form prior to all these injuries, he’ll have no trouble living up to the extension he signed.
It’s easy to forget Bailey made thirty plus starts in both 2012 and 2013, while posting ERAs of 3.68 and 3.49. That kind of production can bring a ton of value back to a team in a few different ways. For the 30-year-old’s sake, hopefully he can finally get back to pitching instead of consistent rehab processes. It’s never fun to see a ballplayer lose years of his prime because of health issues he can’t control. On the bright side for Bailey, he’ll have plenty of time to get back on track and work the kinks out during what has become another lost season in Cincinnati.