GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Homer Bailey doesn’t know the exact plan for him once spring training starts, but he does know he’s ready to handle a semi-normal load.
Bailey, the lone veteran of the Reds pitching staff, had Tommy John surgery on May 8. Bailey, 29, says he’s fully recovered.
“It’s like nothing ever happened,” he said.
That doesn’t mean Bailey will prepare like a pitcher that isn’t coming off surgery. The normal recovery period is 12 to 14 months. The Reds have pointed to May as the date when Bailey rejoins the rotation. That means he’ll progress slower as far as building up his inning load.
“I’m not sure what the plan is, honestly,” Bailey said. “I’ve already thrown off the mound twice before I got here. Everything went well.”
Pitchers and catchers officially report Thursday. They will get their physicals Thursday morning, then work out Thursday afternoon.
Bailey has had two tough years physically. He was limited to 23 starts in the 2014 season due to forearm problems. He had surgery on Sept. 23 to repair a torn flexor mass.
That slowed him during spring last year. He made one rehab start and two starts for the Reds. He suffered the tear in the second.
Bailey is further along at this point this year than he was last year.
“I didn’t throw any bullpens before I got here,” he said.
Bailey has been surprised by how well the comeback from Tommy John has gone.
“I have been — quite a bit,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a lot worse. But everything has gone really smooth.”
The Reds are leaning on Bailey to lead the young pitching staff, and he’s comfortable with that role. He was the one veteran at the “pitching summit” the Reds held in January. Fifteen of the top prospects were invited as well.
“It was good,” Bailey said. “It went really well. It was good to get to work with some of those guys.”