Reds manager Dusty Baker is as eager as most Reds fans to see outfielder Jay Bruce and pitcher Homer Bailey in a Reds uniform, but he says the club has to make sure it does the right thing by the two highly-regarded prospects while considering the club’s long-term needs.
“You’re not going to bring them up and don’t play them,” Baker said Thursday. “You want them to tear it up versus coming here prematurely and then have to go back. Even if we need them, you’ve got to do what’s right, number one, for the kids because when they get here, they’re not going back.”
Has it reached the point during the Reds’ slow start where they really do need Bruce and Bailey?
“Need is not the issue right now,” Baker said. “The issue is we’ve got guys here that have done the job and are about to do the job. I mean, are you going to tell me Adam Dunn is not going to hit 40 home runs? Are you going to tell me Griff’s not going to hit 30 home runs?
“I’m dying for them to get here. I really am. I’m excited about it. But sometimes you have to sit on your hands and let them play.”
Asked if he believed that Bruce and Bailey were ready to succeed in the big leagues, Baker said he wasn’t sure.
“I’m not there with them,” he said. “I see the reports. Three weeks isn’t a real long period of time. Jay Bruce has been there three weeks and for Homer Bailey it’s his second tour there.
“Homer has cut down his pitches. He’s cut down his delivery so they don’t run on him all the time. There’s more things to learn than just hitting and pitching if you’re going to win in the big leagues because those guys will capitalize on the little things you don’t do that may not show up in the box scores.”