Bailey does better second time out
By Hal McCoy
Dayton Daily News
SARASOTA, F LA . | Homer Bailey is only 19 and quickly getting wise beyond his baseball years.
Bailey has just two seasons of professional experience, both at the Class A level. But as the No. 1 draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2004 and the club's top pitching prospect, the Reds have him on the 40-man roster and are giving him a taste of big-league life this spring — putting him on the fast track.
On Wednesday he pitched a scoreless inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates — no hits, one walk, one strikeout — as the Reds lost a split-squad game, 5-0.
It was better than his first try when he gave up a run and two hits in one inning against the Twins.
"I was a lot less nervous this time," he said. "I learned. I told myself to just go out and compete. Pitching against major-leaguers is a boost. I always heard once you get a taste of the big leagues and get sent back, you fight more to get back up. I definitely understand that now.
"Being around these (big-league) guys, you pick things up. I talk to Tom Browning (guest pitching instructor) and Vern Ruhle (pitching coach) and I understand more about pitching."
Bailey, a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder from LaGrange, Texas, was 8-4 with a 4.43 earned-run average at Class A Dayton last year and is expected to start this season at Class AA Chattanooga.
While Sean Casey played for Pittsburgh against the Reds in Sarasota, a 5-0 Pirates victory, the man for whom Casey was traded, left-handed pitcher Dave Williams, started a split-squad game in Fort Myers, a 3-2 Reds win.
Williams pitched three hitless, scoreless innings, despite walking four. He struck out two.
Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit his fourth homer of the spring, three coming in two split-squad games against the Twins in Fort Myers. Outfielder DeWayne Wise had three hits, including a home run.
• Relief pitcher Kent Mercker makes his first appearance of the spring today in Bradenton against the Pirates, fully recovered from a sore back.
"I haven't faced a hitter this spring, but there is plenty of time," said Mercker. "Two years ago I pitched only twice in the spring for the Chicago Cubs."
And he had an premier season — 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 71 relief appearances.
• Eric Milton, who re-injured his right calf pitching Tuesday, had moderate stiffness on the outside of the calf Wednesday, but performed long-toss without complaint.
"He'll take his regular bullpen session (today), then make a decision after that about his next appearance on the mound," said trainer Mark Mann.
• Aaron Harang, scheduled to start today in Bradenton against the Pirates, was scratched due to shoulder inflammation. He is being treated and is listed as day-to-day.
Quote of the day
A fan sitting in Ed Smith Stadium spotted a writer walking down the concourse during Wednesday's game and yelled, "Two words for your story: need pitching."