Reds, Homer Bailey mull surgery on right-hander's ailing elbow

CINCINNATI -- Reds right-hander Homer Bailey may require surgery on his pitching elbow, a significant setback to a team already struggling with its staff.

Cincinnati is considering various options for treating an injured ligament in Bailey's right elbow, including surgery. Manager Bryan Price said Tuesday that no decision had been made. The Reds could wait and see if the elbow heals with treatment.

"A lot of times, you want to kick the tires and make sure," Price said. "Not everything needs to be corrected with surgery. There are other ways to do things.

"So there are some options out there beyond surgery. That being said, that would be one of the options."

Either way, Bailey will miss a significant amount of time recovering from his latest elbow problem. He was in the clubhouse Tuesday before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers and declined to be interviewed.

It's been a tough two years for Bailey, who threw no-hitters in 2012 and 2013. He got a six-year, $105 million contract before last season and went 9-5 in 23 starts with a 3.71 ERA before surgery in September on his right forearm by the elbow.

He was still recovering from the operation when spring training started, leaving him unable to fully work out. He opened the season on the disabled list, was activated and made two starts. He threw 92 pitches in a 5-2 loss at St. Louis and 79 pitches in a 4-2 defeat at Milwaukee.

Price said Bailey's right elbow was a little sore after his last start. He was sent for an MRI on Monday that detected an injury to a ligament.

Right-hander Michael Lorenzen will be called up to make his major league debut Wednesday against Milwaukee. Mike Leake was originally scheduled to pitch Wednesday, with Bailey's spot coming up on Thursday. Leake has been pushed back a day.

The Reds were counting on a big year from Bailey, one of three returning starters along with Johnny Cueto and 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 11th in the National League with a 3.97 ERA. The bullpen has been the biggest problem, ranking last in the league with a 5.54 ERA.

The Reds also are limited at catcher. All-Star Devin Mesoraco has been limited to pinch-hitting for the past two weeks because of a sore left hip. It's unclear how long he'll be unable to catch.