CINCINNATI — Homer Bailey feels exactly how you want to feel coming off Tommy John surgery.
“Everything feels — the best I can say — is normal,” he said Friday at Redsfest.
Bailey finished up his rehab throwing program around Thanksgiving. He’s been off since.
“Probably right around Christmas, I’ll start throwing,” he said. “There’s no program. It’s just getting ready for the season like I normally would. The only difference will be once my mound progression begins in spring training, I’ll take a little longer.
“Instead of going one, two innings, three, I may have repeat the amount of innings.”
Bailey had the surgery in mid-May. It’s usually a 12-month rehab. Bailey, the 29-year-old right-hander, has been throwing since September. He’s reluctant to put a timetable on when he’ll be ready to start pitching in the big leagues.
This is the second straight offseason Bailey dealt with coming back from surgery. He had surgery to repair a tear in the flexor mass Sept. 5, 2014.
“It was a lot tougher last year after flexor mass deal,” he said. “I’ve been through it once. To go through it again has been a lot easier.”
Not that it’s really been easy, though.
“I’m looking forward to getting back off the mound,” he said. “There’s nothing I love to do more than pitch.”
Bailey is the only veteran in the starting rotation as it stands. He’s ready to take on a leadership role.
“I feel like I will,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything they’re going through that I didn’t go through — whether it’s injury or bad performance, good performance — ’07 and ’08 were pretty rough years. I’ve been through that.
“I saw what we did in order to win our division (in 2010). I think I’ll be able to help that out a little bit.”
Bailey said he and some of the young pitchers are going to Goodyear in mid-January for a sort of mini-camp.
“(Manager Bryan Price) talked to me about it,” he said. “We won’t even get off the mound. We’ll talk about preparation, what it takes to win. It’s good that coaching staff is being proactive.”
“Watching the games gives you a new perspective on the game,” he said.