Unwilling to roll the dice with injured ace Johnny Cueto, the Reds selected Homer Bailey as their starter for Game 3 in Cincinnati.

"You can't take a chance with Johnny," manager Dusty Baker said Sunday before Game 2 of the National League Division Series at AT&T Park. "We can't have him go out there again and have something else happen and have him come up short."

Back spasms forced Cueto out after eight pitches in his Game 1 start against the Giants on Saturday.

But not long after that game was over, the right-hander expressed optimism about returning Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.

Instead, Baker will hand the ball to Bailey, who went 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA during the regular season.

The right-hander finished strong, including a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 28. In his tune-up start that followed, Bailey pitched four shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.

"This is the healthiest Homer has been this year," Baker said. "We feel like he's on his way."