CINCINNATI — Reds starter Homer Bailey will have surgery on his pitching elbow and miss the rest of the season, a significant setback to Cincinnati's struggling staff.
Bailey tore a ligament in his right elbow and will have Tommy John surgery next Friday. He took a couple of days to weigh his options and made the decision Friday. The Reds expect him to be fully recovered in time for next season.
"It's absolutely crushing to Homer personally, to our ballclub," manager Bryan Price said. "We were really looking forward to a healthy Homer Bailey this year and that type of influence on our club."
This has been a tough year for Bailey, who threw no-hitters in 2012 and 2013.
He got a $105 million, six-year contract before last season and went 9-5 in 23 starts with a 3.71 ERA before having surgery in September to repair a tear in his right forearm by the elbow. He was still recovering from the operation when spring training started, leaving him unable to fully work out.
Bailey opened the season on the disabled list, then went on to make two starts. He threw 92 pitches in a 5-2 loss at St. Louis and 79 in a 4-2 defeat at Milwaukee. After the second start, he felt soreness in the elbow.
An MRI on Monday found the ligament tear. He took a few days to consider his options.
"We determined the best option with the most predictable outcome is to surgically repair the ligament," general manager Walt Jocketty said.
Right-hander Michael Lorenzen was called up to replace Bailey in the rotation. Lorenzen made his major league debut Wednesday and took a loss against Milwaukee.
The Reds moved left-hander Tony Cingrani into the bullpen during spring training. Manager Bryan Price is inclined to leave him there for now. They'd likely have to send him to the minors to build up innings if they wanted to move him back into the rotation later in the season.
The Reds were counting on a big year from Bailey, one of three returning starters along with Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake. The Reds traded Mat Latos to Miami and Alfredo Simon to Detroit in the offseason. Cueto is in the final year of his contract.
Cincinnati's pitching staff ranks near the bottom of the National League, with the bullpen last in ERA.
"We'll endure and move on until he's ready to go again, but it's definitely a blow," Price said of Bailey. "I think we made the right decision. Still, it's a blow."
The Reds also announced that minor league utility player Donald Lutz had reconstructive elbow surgery Friday. He hurt his elbow last week while playing for Triple-A Louisville. Lutz played in 28 games for the Reds last season, batting .176.
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AP freelance writer Amy Jinkner-Lloyd contributed to this report.
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