Reds are smart to keep Bailey in minors
By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Sure, if I were running the Reds, Homer Bailey would be up with the big club right now, sitting on the bench a couple days to soak up the atmosphere, then firing that 97 mph fastball past Albert Pujols and the big curve past everybody else.

But, like the Reds, I can wait a little longer, too. After all, Bailey's 20th birthday isn't until next Wednesday.

Still, there was muted talk over the weekend that Bailey might be called up from "high" Class A Sarasota for a spot start until Reds General Manager Wayne Krivsky put the kibosh to it. Reds minor league pitching coordinator Mack Jenkins in Dayton to check on the Dragons also thought it was a bad idea, for now.

"There's a history of guys having a terrible debut and taking a long time to recover," Jenkins said. "For me, there is no positive in taking him up."

Jenkins does admit Bailey who pitched with the Dragons last season is on a fast track.

"If he progresses this year the way we expect, he would be a candidate for the big club in mid '07," Jenkins said.

Bailey is 1-2 with a 3.98 era in four starts at Sarasota. He has struck out 20 and walked five.

Bailey is not yet on the 40-man roster, where he has to be to get called up. Then, he'd have three options back to the minors. To use up one of those options now would seem premature.

How about this: mid-2007 with the Reds, Opening Day starter 2008.

That's still a rush, but Bailey's moving fast.