CINCINNATI -- Homer Bailey threw a bullpen session on Sunday, and if he recovers properly, Reds pitching coach Bryan Price expects him to throw a simulated game on Wednesday.
Bailey has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 24 because of right shoulder inflammation, but Price said there have been no setbacks in the recovery process.
"That's a big thing because when you have periodic setbacks, typically it's representative of something a little bit more significant being a problem," Price said. "He progressed as we expected, actually a little better than we expected, so we're hoping this is the next step in the progress to getting back into games."
If all goes well this week, Price said Bailey will probably make at least three or four rehab appearances before rejoining the Reds.
As for Aaron Harang, Price said they are taking things slowly with him. Harang hasn't started since May 30 because of lower back spasms -- an issue Price said must be dealt with patiently.
"There's just no reason, especially with a back problem, to try to create a sense of urgency for him to get back on the field simply because with the back you just can't pitch," Price said. "The back is debilitating, let's put it that way."
Although several players have stepped up in Harang's absence, Price said it's important to get Harang back because he brings a veteran presence and the ability to eat innings.
Rolen still out sick; Bruce given rest
CINCINNATI -- Two regular bats were missing from the Reds' lineup on Sunday, as Scott Rolen missed his second straight game because of illness, and Jay Bruce received a day off.
Rolen was in the clubhouse Sunday morning, but Miguel Cairo got the start at third base again, batting sixth.
Meanwhile, Bruce was out of the starting lineup to help him snap out of his current funk. He was hitless in his past 12 at-bats entering Sunday, and Reds manager Dusty Baker said he had a "work day off."
"His swing's off some," Baker said. "I wanted to [give him time off] before it turns to frustration, which is pretty close to where he is right now."
Luck hasn't exactly been on Bruce's side either, as he was robbed of a three-run home run by Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler in Friday's game, something Baker called the "epitome of frustration."
"All year he's kind of been a hard-luck guy from the beginning, him and [Orlando] Cabrera lately," Baker said. "We certainly need him to make this push here. Not to put pressure on him, but we need him."
Hernandez could get extra rest before return
CINCINNATI -- Reds catchers Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan haven't been active at the same time since late May, but that should change soon.
Hernandez has been on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left knee and is eligible to return on Tuesday, however, manager Dusty Baker expects to give him a few more days. As with any injury, Baker said he would rather bring back Hernandez a couple days later rather than earlier.
"As things go, I'd rather wait one or two days," Baker said. "His leg feels better, but is he ready to squat nine innings? Probably not yet. So he's catching 'pens, he's doing everything to get ready."
Baker thankful to have veterans on team
CINCINNATI -- Even with Scott Rolen's absence from the lineup on Sunday, Reds manager Dusty Baker is happy just to have veteran players such as Rolen and shortstop Orlando Cabrera around the clubhouse.
Much has been made of Cincinnati's youth, as five rookies are currently on the active roster. However, Baker pointed out that the veterans are spread out through each area with players such as Miguel Cairo on the bench, Ramon Hernandez at catcher, Arthur Rhodes in the bullpen and the contrasting personalities of Rolen and Cabrera out in the field.
"They're foundation people, personality-wise, baseball-wise, knowledge-wise, demeanor-wise, the way they present things or say things," Baker said of Rolen and Cabrera. "They're totally opposite. One talks a lot, one doesn't talk very much at all. You need that."
Entering Sunday's game against the Rockies, reliever Logan Ondrusek had appeared in 11 straight games without allowing a run, a stretch of 11 2/3 innings. He has lowered his ERA to 4.32. ... Saturday's attendance was 41,300, marking the third sellout of the season at Great American Ball Park and the first against a team other than the Cardinals.
Matt Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.