SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Reds starter Homer Bailey graded his outing Monday as a B-plus, but aside from one pitch it was certainly worthy of very high marks.
In the third inning, Bailey hung a 3-2 slider to Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar that landed in the Texas bullpen. Otherwise, he struck out five, walked none and allowed one other run on a tough-luck double steal.
"I had that one pitch to Profar that he hit out," Bailey said. "It was 3-2, so I had to come with a lot of plate. It's probably not something we'd do during the season, but now's a good time to do those sort of things."
Perhaps the most important takeaway from Bailey's afternoon was his command. He was in the zone when he needed to be (39 of his 58 pitches were strikes), and he didn't walk a batter.
Bailey allowed a run in the bottom of the second inning when catcher Devin Mesoraco made a poor throw to second, making it impossible for second baseman Ramon Santiago to throw out the runner at the plate on a double steal.
But otherwise, Bailey praised Mesoraco's work behind the dish, noting the battery has felt very comfortable together all spring.
"We're really on the same page," Bailey said. "He understands what I'm trying to do right now, and he's really done an excellent job."
Reds' bullpen deep even with Broxton, Marshall injuries
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds manager Bryan Price knows the value of a deep bullpen, and he likes the pieces he has in place for 2014.
But Price is also well aware of just how fickle the game of baseball can be to a relief corps.
"I think we know what we have," Price said. "I think it's safe to say we can form speculations. But bullpens are the toughest thing to project going into the season because it's really hard to find relievers that can stay consistently good, year after year."
The Reds enter the season with a more established relief corps than a year ago. But they also enter it with a pair of injury questions in Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall.
Broxton had surgery last August on his right forearm, and Marshall is dealing with left-shoulder tendinitis. If the pair can stay healthy, Price believes his bullpen could be in top form with J.J. Hoover, Sam LeCure and Manny Parra also helping to get the ball to closer Aroldis Chapman.
"We do have some history here -- Hoover now with a year plus, LeCure, Parra coming off a nice year," Price said. "But really, the key is to have full healthy years out of Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall."
Hoover, LeCure and Parra had breakout years last season thanks to the chances they were afforded due to injuries. They helped to comprise the National League's fourth-best bullpen. In total, the Reds relievers combined to post a 3.29 ERA.
Now, Price is hopeful for health and consistency among those relievers -- often hard to come by in a big league bullpen.
"If we want to win a World Series, we're going to need to be strong 1-7 throughout the course of the year," he said.
One member of the Reds bullpen suffered a bit of a setback as David Holmberg has been sidelined a few days after being hit in the shin by an errant throw on the practice fields. Holmberg felt fine after treatment, but a week later, the injury flared up.
"We got after it the day that it flared up," Holmberg said. "The treatment we're doing really helped out. It's just precautionary right now. Back to 100 percent."
Holmberg expects to pitch on Tuesday.
Price: Rough beginning in Cactus League not a concern
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- By no means is Reds manager Bryan Price pleased with his club's 4-9 record entering Monday's game, but he's quick to clarify his objective this spring.
Winning more games, of course, would be nice. But Price has been portioning at-bats out relatively evenly throughout the entire club.
"You're giving guys that are out of A ball or Double-A ball a lot of playing time, so you're not always running out what you feel is your best ballclub out there," Price said. "But we do need to learn these players and see what we have in our system. And with a new coaching staff, I think it's only fair that we give these guys an opportunity to show what they can do."
The Reds haven't made a single cut this spring from Major League camp. That means more players eager for at-bats and fewer at-bats to go around.
Eventually, the number of players in Reds camp will be trimmed, and the regulars will begin playing nine innings.
"I can't guarantee that we'll win more games when we're playing the regulars more," Price said. "But to this point, I'm satisfied with the effort and the approach and the work that we're getting from these guys. The results just haven't been great."
And Price is the first to say he'd like the results to be better -- even if it is only mid-March.
"Sometimes you just like to win because it supports what we're trying to do here, and that is to play winning baseball," Price said.
• Utility man Chris Nelson played first base during Monday's game, which he has never done in a regular-season contest. Price said Nelson's ability to do so would greatly increase his worth to the club.
"It's a position we want him to be able to play to add value for us," Price said. "We know that he can play primarily third and second. He came up as a shortstop. But if he's going to really be a true utility guy for us, he's going to have to play first, he's probably going to have to play some left field. And that's going to greatly add to his value and the probability of him playing for us at some point."
• The Reds will hold a live scrimmage Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. on one of their back fields in Goodyear. A handful of big league pitchers will get their work in during the game, and they'll be facing some of the club's regulars on offense. The defense will be comprised mostly of Minor League players.