After two-year absence, Bailey in bigs
BOSTON -- Andrew Bailey's long journey back from career-threatening labrum and capsule surgery delivered him to the doorstep of his most recent big league employer, as the former All-Star closer suited up in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
Bailey, 31, has not appeared in the Majors since 2013 with the Red Sox. The right-hander fought long odds to earn a September callup with the Yankees, having posted a 1.80 ERA in 28 Minor League appearances this year.
"As long as I ended the season healthy, that was my goal, wherever that was," Bailey said. "Thankfully the Yankees gave me the opportunity to help them at this level, and I'll do my best to do whatever I can. They've been nothing but outstanding all the way, through all the setbacks and the time it took, but they believed and it worked out well."
Bailey could provide some key outs down the stretch for a bullpen that has been anchored by closer Andrew Miller and setup man Dellin Betances. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he will treat Bailey, who owns 89 saves in five big league seasons, differently than some of the team's more inexperienced callups.
"He's been through a lot," Girardi said. "A couple years of rehab, he's had setbacks, has had surgeries. I'm sure he's been looking forward to this day. You tip your cap to a guy that perseveres like he has.
"This was a guy that was a closer, was pitching extremely well and went through a bunch of injuries. He was never sure if he was going to make it back, but he's back and that's pretty cool."
In 35 Minor League innings, Bailey posted 42 strikeouts and 11 walks. He said that he started to feel "100 percent, ready to go" while with Double-A Trenton, where he had an 0.63 ERA in 11 appearances while beginning to pitch in back-to-back appearances.
At Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Bailey had a 2.19 ERA in nine appearances, finishing seven games. Bailey said that he had some doubts if his rehab would work out this well, but he said he was glad to have pushed to the other side.
"You just have to keep grinding, keep persevering through that," Bailey said. "I'm blessed with a great wife who keeps things pretty straight at home and go home to two kids, so it's been a blessing and a long road for sure."
• Rob Refsnyder, the Yankees' No. 6 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, was among the group of eight September callups crowding the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park on Tuesday. Girardi said that he is not sure if Refsnyder will start on Wednesday.
"I'm open to anything," Girardi said. "We'll worry about it [Wednesday]."
Girardi said that speedster Rico Noel will have the green light in most situations where he sees action. Noel, 26, was just 1-for-17 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he was successful in 23 of 28 stolen-base attempts this season and has been summoned to the Majors for his wheels.
• CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday and then has been slated for a simulated game on Friday. General manager Brian Cashman has said that the Yankees plan to reinstate Sabathia to the rotation when he is ready.