The Cincinnati Reds hope right-hander Homer Bailey is ready for spring training after having surgery to repair a tear in the flexor mass tendon of his right forearm. The operation is scheduled for Friday, reports C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The Reds had been trying a more conservative route, trainer Paul Lessard said, but the tendon was not healing. Surgery, especially the timing, leaves open the possibility that rehab will delay Bailey getting back on the mound in 2015.
The Reds hope Bailey will be ready to participate in spring training and start the season with the team. The injury is similar, but less severe, to the one Jonathan Broxton had in 2013. Broxton had surgery in August and started the season on the disabled list, but only missed the first week of the season and pitched well for Cincinnati before the Reds traded him to Milwaukee on Sunday.
"I don't know the specifics, but he should be just about ready to go for spring training," Lessard said.
Bailey in 2012 and 2013 became one of the better pitchers in the National League, throwing two no-hitters and posting strong overall numbers despite pitching home games at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. Parlaying that success into a six-year, $105 million contract before this season, Bailey pitched well again after a slow start, posting a 3.71 ERA with 124 strikeouts in 145 innings. Since the 2012 season began, Fangraphs ranks Bailey as the 15th-best pitcher in the NL by wins above replacement. Another Reds right-hander, Mat Latos, has accumulated 8.8 WAR units in that time. Clayton Kershaw leads the NL with 18.1, with Adam Wainwright second at 13.9.
Bailey still looks like Christian Bale of "Batman" fame — and the surgery won't affect that.
Bailey's injury was one of several key setbacks for the Reds this season, who almost certainly would have contended for longer if they hadn't been saddled with so many injuries. Slugger Joey Votto, second baseman Brandon Phillips, outfielder Jay Bruce, closer Aroldis Chapman, Latos and others — having an All-Star M*A*S*H* unit has killed Cincy's chances this season, as Jon Fay writes. The Reds won at least 90 games and made the playoffs three times since 2010, but are 66-73 right now.
The good news is, the Reds might not need to be overhauled in order to get better. But they definitely need better health.
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