Homer Bailey is slowly making his way back to the majors. According to Cincinnati.com, he was throwing a bullpen session last week and looked good in the process.
The 31 year old Bailey would be a welcomed addition to this slumping Cincinnati squad.
10 years ago, he was a 21 year old former first round pick who carried in his right arm the promise of great years in Cincinnati. The Reds top prospect, he was projected to be the team’s ace with a name more suited for a hitter than a starter. He went back and forth between the majors and Triple A between 2007 and 2009.
In 2010 he pitched well enough to stay in the majors and eventually move out of the bullpen. He pitched 2 scoreless innings in the Reds brief 3 games and out Division Series appearance.
He remained on the big league squad, albeit battling injuries along the way in 2011 and in 2012. On September 28, 2012, he pitched like the ace the Reds thought they were getting.
At PNC Park in Pittsburgh, he needed 115 pitches to no hit the Pirates and earn the first Cincinnati no hitter since Tom Browning in 1988.
In the Division Series, manager Dusty Baker handed him the ball with a chance to clinch the sweep over the Giants. He held up his end of the bargain, going 7 innings, allowing a single hit and single walk and single run, striking out 10. But the Giants won the game in extra innings, en route to the World Series title.
In 2013, he matched his masterpiece. Bailey no hit the Giants on July 2, making Bailey the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan to throw the last no hitter of one season and the first one of the next season.
He signed a long term deal after the 2013 season. After throwing 145 2/3 innings in 2014, his season was shut down after arm issues. He has only pitched 34 1/3 innings since, recovering from Tommy John surgery.
But Homer Bailey has two no hitters in his career. Roger Clemens never had a no hitter. Neither did Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine or John Smoltz. Pedro Martinez never officially had one (although he took one into the 10th once). Hall of Famers Grover Cleveland Alexander, Whitey Ford, Lefty Grove and Steve Carlton never tossed a no hitter.
Bailey did and had one to spare. It is kind of strange when I see it written out like that. When everything is clicking for Bailey, he clearly is capable of great things.
Right now the Reds just need SOME things clicking for their team that needs Bailey back in the rotation.