Red Sox bullpen gets Bailey back
Closer works strong inning at Pawtucket in his final rehab tuneup
MINNEAPOLIS -- Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey pitched an inning at Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday and was slated to rejoin the team on Monday. The move was made in late afternoon when Boston activated Bailey from the disabled list and optioned right-hander Jose De La Torre to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Bailey gave up a home run to former Major Leaguer Brett Carroll as well as a double, but retired the other three Indianapolis hitters he faced, two by strikeout. He threw 17 pitches, 14 for strikes, and suffered no setbacks, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell.
"Physically he came through it fine," Farrell said on Sunday morning. "He showed consistent velocity pre-injury. He'll rejoin us [Monday]. He'll get checked on, as anyone would in a situation like his, but he came out of last night feeling good physically."
Bailey, a 28-year-old right-hander, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 6 with a strained right biceps. The Red Sox media relations staff said he's expected to meet the club in Chicago for the start of a three-game series against the White Sox on Monday. And with a 1.46 ERA and five saves in 13 appearances this year, Bailey's return is a welcome sight to an already thriving Boston bullpen.
"I don't think you can underscore the importance of getting a two-time [All-Star] closer and former Rookie of the Year back at the back end of your bullpen," Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow said. "I think that the depth that we've amassed has allowed us to kind of slide guys in and out of the back end, but getting a stabilizing force like Bailey back will allow everybody else to kind of slot up a little bit, and I feel like we can continue to shorten the game even further."
Farrell noted that, like most pitchers coming off the disabled list, Bailey will be handled carefully as he builds back up to his normal workload.
"We're going to have to balance back-to-back days, which we're likely to stay away from initially," Farrell said. "But to slide guys back a little bit earlier, it gives us that flexibility with Junichi [Tazawa] a little bit more than holding him back to close out games."
Breslow, a teammate of Bailey's in Oakland (2009-11) and Boston the past two years, said that after arm trouble limited him to just 19 appearances last season, Bailey appeared to have regained his form in April before he went down.
"Bailey was throwing as well as he has in the last five years," Breslow said, "so as long as he can come back and just be himself, I feel like we're going to be in really good shape."