TEMPE, Ariz. -- Andrew Bailey is back at Angels camp, but for the first time in his career, he's preparing for the season as a member of a Major League coaching staff, not a pitching staff.After spending eight seasons as a right-handed reliever for the A's, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Andrew Bailey is back at Angels camp, but for the first time in his career, he's preparing for the season as a member of a Major League coaching staff, not a pitching staff.
After spending eight seasons as a right-handed reliever for the A's, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies and Angels, Bailey announced his retirement last week and revealed that he'd be staying in Anaheim as the club's instant-replay coordinator and coaching assistant. He reported to Tempe on Saturday for his first day of work as a non-player and received a "crash course" on what his new role will entail this year.
"It's definitely weird," Bailey said Sunday. "I was fortunate to be able to play the game for a long time. Coming here is a little different, but it's nice to get that excitement again. It's just in a different form. I'm here to help the guys and do whatever I can do. I'm looking forward to a great season and starting a new chapter in my life, personally."
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Among Bailey's responsibilities will be assisting with the Angels' replay systems during the regular season and helping to prepare advance scouting reports.
"Learning a new system and actually working with computers will be different," Bailey said. "But in terms of knowing the game, I feel like I have a good grasp on that."
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A sixth-round Draft pick out of Wagner College in 2006, Bailey debuted with the A's in 2009 and quickly ascended into the closer role, earning an All-Star nod and Rookie of the Year honors after posting a 1.84 ERA with 26 saves over 83 1/3 innings. He spent two more years in Oakland before he was traded to the Red Sox, but his tenure in Boston was beset by injuries. In 2013, he underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn capsule and damage in his labrum and rotator cuff.
The injury cost him two years, but Bailey made a brief return to the Majors in 2015 with the Yankees, where he met Billy Eppler, who is now the Angels' general manager. Eppler signed Bailey to a Minor League deal after the Phillies released him in 2016, and the veteran reliever earned a callup with the Angels that September, recording a 2.38 ERA in 11 1/3 innings.
The effective showing led the Angels to re-sign Bailey on a one-year, $1 million deal, but his shoulder flared up again and landed him on the disabled list just one week into the 2017 season. Bailey spent four months rehabbing before returning to pitch a scoreless inning against the Nationals on Aug. 15. It proved to be the final Major League outing of his career, as he was subsequently shut down again with shoulder trouble.
"I worked so hard to get back, just different parts of the body aren't working the way they used to," Bailey said. "I think at that point, I was like, 'I need to do some thinking.' This offseason just kind of put the icing on the cake with just not being able to physically get ready."
After Eppler caught wind that Bailey was contemplating retirement, he called to offer him an opportunity to stay in baseball.
"I've known Andrew for a lot of years," Eppler said. "He's got a deep understanding of this game. A lot of baseball intellect, as well as just the character and the open-mindedness you're looking to put inside your culture. It was a very easy thought for me to have. It's something I knew in years past, that at some point we'd be working together on the non-playing side."
Bailey made only four appearances for the Angels last year, but he expects to log a full 162-game slate in 2018, watching the action from the video room along with catching and information coach Steve Soliz and senior Major League video coordinator Diego Lopez.
"It'll be fun traveling with the team, just in a different capacity," Bailey said. "But like I said, I'll still have my hand in the game. I'm very lucky."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.
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