If it feels like it's been a decade since you've seen Homer Bailey pitch for the Cincinnati Reds, you're not far off. Bailey saw his 2014 season cut short by an arm injury that eventually resulted in flexor mass tendon surgery (which sounds gross), and just as soon as it looked as if he'd recovered from that completely, he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm and underwent Tommy John surgery.
The result: you've seen Homer make just two big league starts since August 7th, 2014. Fortunately, though, it appears he's finally on the verge of making it back to the Reds.
Bailey will begin a new rehab assignment at Louisville on Monday. Will pitch 2 inn. #reds— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) June 23, 2016
I know that we've reached this point before only to have things almost blow up all over again. Bailey made a pair of April rehab starts this year - one with AA Pensacola, another with AAA Louisville - only to have stiffness in his bionic/robotic arm put him back on the shelf for what's amounted to two full months. Still, the patience shown in bringing him back has been admirable, especially given the overall putrid performance of the pitching staff and the whopping contract he signed just before having things fall all to pieces.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer later added that Bryan Price and the Reds expect Homer to need five rehab starts before being big league ready, and that would put him on-track to return to the team in late July. So, in an off-tilt way, you can kind of view Homer's return as the Reds adding a major piece of their future at the trade deadline. Or I suppose you can just still be mad about them signing him years ago instead of Johnny Cueto, and if that's the case I can only throw up my hands, buy you a beer, or suggest massive amounts of therapy.
This is good news, regardless. Homer's basically untradeable given his contract and litany of injuries, but he's also just 30 with talent that's carried him to a pair of no-hitters in his career. He's going to be a huge part of the Reds being good again in the coming years, and getting him back to health is paramount - not to mention that his return will help keep late season innings off the bevy of young arms that have carried the pitching load in his stead.
Get at it, Hoss.