Hanrahan on Bailey: 'All you can do is root for each other'

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Hanrahan on Bailey: 'All you can do is root for each other'

BOSTON   In December 2011, the Red Sox traded three young players, including Josh Reddick who went on to have a stellar season, to the As to acquire  Andrew Bailey to be their new closer, after the loss of Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies in free agency.
 
But, Bailey was hurt at the end of spring training in an odd play while attempting to cover first base and underwent surgery on his right thumb on April 4, the day before Opening Day. Bailey didnt make his season debut until Aug. 14, and struggled for the remainder of the season. In 19 games, spanning 15 13 innings, he posted a record of 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA, six saves, and three blown saves.
 
Now, Bailey has lost the closers job to Joel Hanrahan, who was acquired in a trade with the Pirates on Dec. 26 two days shy of a year to the day when Bailey was acquired. In the last two seasons Hanrahan is fourth in the National League with a combined 76 saves and a 2.24 ERA. In that span he has recorded 128 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .205 batting average, being named a NL All-Star in both seasons. He and Atlantas Craig Kimbrel are the only pitchers to collect at least 35 saves and post an ERA under 3.00 in both 2011 and 2012.
 
Hanrahan has the resume and the qualifications to take over the closers job. On the proverbial paper, he represents an upgrade. His 36 saves in 2012 are one more than the Sox as a team were able to post.
 
Still, being brought in to take the place of a pitcher who will now be one your bullpen mates can make for some uncomfortable dynamics.
 
But Hanrahan knows its part of the package. A former starting pitcher, the second-round pick of the Dodgers out of Norwalk High in Iowa in 2000, he was granted free agency after the 2006 season. In late 2008, while with the Nationals, he was named the teams closer. Less than a year later, with just five saves, he was traded to the Pirates.
 
Hanrahan doesnt know Bailey, but from what hes heard, the Sox erstwhile closer is a good guy and a good teammate. Hes looking forward to getting to know him and working with him.  And, hell be rooting for him.
 
I think thats part of the business, Hanrahan said. Ive been through a situation like that before.
 
I talked with former As and now Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who knows him from their Oakland days and talked about what kind of guy is he. I dont really know him at all. McCarthy said he's going to be a great guy. He thinks we'll get along great and all you can do is root for each other to have success and pull for the team and that's what we're going to do I believe. He was in a tough spot. Any time you injure your hand in spring training, that's not fun, especially coming over to a new team. I'm sure he's got a lot to prove this year.
 
Which can only help the Sox.

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)