Bailey frustrated, but pragmatic, about injury

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Bailey frustrated, but pragmatic, about injury

DETROIT -- Andrew Bailey, the Red Sox' erstwhile closer, said he felt like he was experiencing the various stages of grief after learning he would need surgery on his ailing right thumb.
"I went through the phases of being frustrated,'' said Bailey in a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, two days after undergoing surgery to repair a ligament in his right thumb, "then pissed off and all that kind of stuff.
"But you come to the realization that it is what it is, I've got to deal with it. I can't pitch with it, so I've got to get it fixed and move forward."
Obtained in an offseason deal with the Oakland A's, Bailey was the Red Sox' chosen replacement for free agent Jonathan Papelbon, who signed a four-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies last November.
Now, his absence has created a giant hole in the Red Sox bullpen and the team must make do without him.
"I'm obviously frustrated and disappointed,'' said Bailey. "I was trying to get off on the right start here and obviously that's not where I'm going.
"But the fact of the matter is, it is what it is. It's an unfortunate injury. I'm really disappointed. But the focus needs to be on the guys that are on the field and to know that I will be able to make it back this year and that the whole season isn't lost. There's a lot of good in that, but it's still very frustrating to start the season this way."
What's particularly tough for Bailey, who's had a variety of injuries in his career, is that the lastest setback "isn't really a throwing injury. I was just trying to be an athlete and cover first base and do something. It's just one of those freak things.''
Initially, Bailey didn't think much of the soreness he experienced after colliding with Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Alex Presley on March 21 in Bradenton, Fla.
"I really didn't think anything of it for a couple of days," said Bailey. "It wasn't until a few days later, with everyday activities, I felt a little weakness in my thumb, a little achiness. Looking back, I guess I could have spoken up then, but I just thought that it was maybe only a little something.
"I went out and pitched the next couple of times and didn't feel great. Each and every time out, it got worse and worse. After I threw the minor-league game on March 28, I had trouble gripping the baseball and there was a lot of pain involved. That was when I was like, 'All right, we've got to get on top of this thing.' It just kind of progressively got worse with the activity.''
Bailey was hoping against hope that he could pitch through it and have any necessary surgery after the season.
"The fact of the matter was,'' he said, "there was no option like that and we had to repair the ligament.''
In his absence, the Sox plan to go with Alfredo Aceves as the team's closer. Aceves was on the mound Thursday afternoon when the Sox suffered a walkoff loss to Detroit, though setup man Mark Melancon was charged with the loss.
Bailey was asked who he thought should close until he comes back.
"That's not really my decision,'' he said. "That's the manager's decision. Bullpens always figure themselves out. Roles are always changing. There's a lot of good arms down in that pen. Aceves has some great stuff and Mark's got some experience.
"The bullpen will be fine. I know they'll be all right. They'll hold it down until I get back. But right now, I'm just focused on myself and those are Bobby Valentine's decisions.''
Bailey will wear a soft cast on the thumb for the "next 10-14 days," and then wear a brace.
"I think after about two or three weeks, I'll be able to start doing the rehab process," he said, "and get some strength in there. As soon as the body lets me and the doctors give me the good word, that's what we're going to do. Once the guys get back, we'll be able to sit down with the trainers and kind of map out what the process is going to be."

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

BOSTON -- Like most NBA executives, Danny Ainge loves to get as much intel on players before picking them as he can.  
 
And with the No. 1 overall pick, Ainge knows he has to do all he can to absolutely get this one right.
 
That’s why any thoughts he had of drafting Lonzo Ball are likely out the window after the talented UCLA guard refused to work out for the Celtics.
 
“We tried to get him in for a workout and he politely said no,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show.
 
Lonzo Ball’s desire (or his dad Lavar Ball’s desire; hard to say who in the Ball camp wants him in L.A. the most) to play for the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the worst-kept secrets leading up to next month’s NBA draft.
 
And with the Lakers holding the No. 2 pick in the draft, turning down the Celtics only increases the likelihood of  Boston passing on him and instead drafting University of Washington star Markelle Fultz.
 
“It’s not ideal,” Ainge said of Ball's decision to decline working out for Boston. “Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. It’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them. Sometimes players don’t want to come in, not because they don’t like you, they see our roster. They think they would prefer to go to another team.”
 
The Celtics, like most teams, have been mum publicly as to who they would take in the draft. But all indications at this point in the process are pointing towards them selecting Fultz with the top overall selection.
 
And the fact that Ball, the projected number two pick even before the draft lottery order was established, refuses to work out for Boston will only increase the likelihood that Fultz will be a Celtic and Ball and his camp will get their wish which has always been to don a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

BOSTON – From the outset of this season, the Boston Celtics were swimming upstream when it came to getting respect. 

No matter how many wins they racked up, no matter how many upsets they managed to pull off, they were never going to do enough to satisfy the court of public opinion which wanted one thing and one thing only from the NBA: A third installment of Golden State against Cleveland in the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors did their part by running through the West with 12 wins in as many playoff games. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to not just stave off elimination tonight, but continue to delay what so many believe is an inevitable Golden State-Cleveland Final.

Boston’s Al Horford understands that while the league this season has seen lots of individual success as well as teams that have overachieved, the thirst for Golden State versus Cleveland remains stronger than ever. 

“We understand that’s what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the season,” Horford said. “For us it’s just to focus … and play the Celtic way. And just come out here and fight and we’ll take it from there.”

The Celtics did that in Game 3 with Avery Bradley delivering one of the more memorable shots in the Brad Stevens era, a game-winning three-pointer that hit the rim four times before falling with 0.1 seconds to play as Boston squeaked out a 111-108 win.

Boston did a lot of good things in Game 4 and seemingly went into the half sensing that maybe just maybe they would even up the series at two games heading back to Boston for tonight’s Game 5 matchup. 

But Kyrie Irving picked up the slack for a foul-plagued LeBron James, lifting the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win which puts them now just a win away from advancing to the NBA Finals. 

Not only have folks both in the media as well as fans who have rooted for this series to be over, even merchandise sellers like Dick Sporting Goods have anticipated this series as already being over.

“It is what it is,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “It’s been like that all year; a lot of guys counting us out. At the same time, we’re trying to put ourselves in position to win each and every game.”

While that has been the goal, it certainly hasn’t worked out that way in this series. 

Despite Games 1 and 2 being at the TD Garden, the Celtics lost both games by a total of 57 points. 

And while they won Game 3 and had the Cavaliers on the ropes in Game 4 before losing, they know their chance to play NBA Finals spoiler is just about up. 

“We know that’s the Finals that everybody wants to talk about, what everybody is looking forward to,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “We understand it. But we work just as hard as these guys. We just have to keep going out there and working. We’re not going to give it to them, and stuff like that. We just have to make it tough on them.”