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."

NFL combine preview: Tight ends

NFL combine preview: Tight ends

With the NFL combine about to begin -- and the NFL Draft just about two months away -- we'll take a daily look at the collegiate talent available at positions where the Patriots might be looking for help. We start today with: Tight ends.

On Tuesday, players will arrive in Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine, with on-field workouts beginning Friday. 

The second group to take the field is the tight end group, which should be worth watching for a number of reasons. For starters, Todd McShay says that this is “a good year to need a tight end” given that there could be three first-rounders in O.J. Howard, David Njoku and Jake Butt.

Furthermore, Martellus Bennett’s potential departure and Rob Gronkowski’s durability questions make tight end a position the Patriots could target early come April 27. 

Here’s a quick look at each of the 19 tight ends invited to the combine: 

O.J. Howard, Alabama, 6-foot-6, 249 pounds

- NFL.com describes him as an “exceptionally gifted athlete” and says that his “play speed resembles a wide receiver’s when the ball is in the air.” They add he “appears passive” as a blocker and “need more muscle and mass to be an in-line blocker as a pro.”

David Njoku, Miami, 6-foot-4, 245 pounds

- Not the biggest guy in the world at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, but is considered a top-end athlete. NFL.com says he “should annihilate the combine with monster numbers in speed and explosion.”

Jake Butt, Michigan, 6-foot-6, 250 pounds 

- Does everything well, but could stand to fill out his frame a bit more. 

Jordan Leggett, Clemson, 6-foot-5, 250 pounds

- Not considered a great blocker and has admitted that he’s played lazily. Could the Pats fix his motor? 

Gerald Everett, South Alabama, 6-foot-3, 227 pounds

- Very interesting prospect. Primarily a basketball player in high school who played just one year of football (insert Antonio Gates basketball reference), Everett played at Alabama-Birmingham before the school cut its football program. Upon transferring to South Alabama, Everett showed his skills as a pass-catching tight end. 

Evan Engram, Mississippi, 6-foot-3, 236 pounds

- Itty bitty for a tight end, and he doesn’t have the greatest hands either. Described as a “move tight end only who lacks dependability as a blocker.”   

He was one of five who for second in the nation among tight ends with eight touchdowns last season. Other guys in that group were Njoku, Hayden Plinke,  Cole Hikutini and UMass’ Adam Breneman.

Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech, 6-foot-7, 245 pounds

- Just your average quarterback-turned-tight-end. The lanky Hodges would be a good fit for the Patriots simply because it would give Julian Edelman a break from the constant mention during broadcasts that he used to be a QB. 

Cole Hikutini, Louisville, 6-foot-5, 248 pounds

- A good athlete who isn’t much of a blocker.

Adam Shaheen, Ashland, 6-foot-6, 277 pounds

- Former college basketball player transferred from Pittsburgh-Johnstown to Ashland to focus on football and eventually established himself as a dominant player at the Division II level. He’s certainly got the size and strength, but questions will persist about just how similarly he holds up going from Division II to the NFL. 

Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas, 6-foot-5, 265 pounds

- Big, physical tight end with a solid stiff arm. Sprinkle was suspended by Arkansas for the Belk Bowl because he stole from a Belk department store after each player had been given $450 to spend there. He was arrested for the incident, as he stole $260 worth of extra items.

Pharoh Brown, Oregon, 6-foot-6, 245 pounds

- Not considered the athlete he was prior to a 2014 injury that nearly resulted in his leg being amputated. 

Michael Roberts, Toledo, 6-foot-4, 261 pounds

- Huge hands, which he uses to catch better than block. He led all FBS tight ends with 16 touchdowns last season. 

Jonnu Smith, Florida International, 6-foot-3, 245 pounds

- College career was ended prematurely when his pregnant girlfriend poured boiling water on him, resulting in severe burns throughout his upper body, including his head. He has good speed, but drops were an issue in college. 

Scott Orndoff, Pittsburgh, 6-foot-5, 256 pounds

- Figures to be a solid blocking tight end, but he also had five receiving touchdowns as a senior. 

Eric Saubert, Drake, 6-foot-5, 251 pounds

- Every draft pick is a gamble, but Saubert might be more so than others. An AFC regional scout says that Saubert is “body beautiful but he can’t catch. I don’t think it’s correctable, either.”

Cethan Carter, Nebraska, 6-foot-4, 240 pounds

- Elbow injuries figure to be a topic at the combine, and he had various injuries throughout his college career. 

Darrell Daniels, Washington, 6-foot-4, 246 pounds

- A scout told NFL.com that Daniels is "going to test through the roof and he's going to get overdrafted on the traits.” The Patriots don’t typically fall into such traps. 

George Kittle, Iowa, 6-foot-4, 250 pounds

- Only had one drop as a senior, but then again being believed to have had no drops in college doesn’t make a guy an NFL stud. 

Hayden Plinke, UTEP, 6-foot-4, 265 pounds

- Transferred twice in his college career, starting at Boise State, then Portland State and finally UTEP. Is considered a good blocker who grabbed eight touchdowns as a senior. 
 

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Two AHL teams recreate Slap Shot on the movie's anniversary

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Two AHL teams recreate Slap Shot on the movie's anniversary

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while so glad to see Dave Strader getting the play-by-play call in this afternoon’s national NBC broadcast of Stars and Bruins from Dallas.
 
-- Jeremy Roenick weighs in with some trade possibilities involving Avalanche and Blues players in what could be a blockbuster at the deadline.
 
-- Antoine Vermette acknowledges his wrongdoing in making a statement about his 10-game suspension for slashing an official, but feels like the punishment was too severe.
 
-- Don Cherry wishes a happy 40th anniversary to Slap Shot while wearing a Charleston Chiefs jersey as he hosts Coaches Corner.
 
-- Speaking of Slap Shot, what an Old Time Hockey fight between the AHL's Iowa Wild and Chicago Wolves. It spilled into the hallway afterward . . . that’s when things get real.

-- I've been asked multiple times about the white Boston hat David Pastrnak is always wearing in the Bruins dressing room, so here it is.

 -- Here’s all the Dallas Stars info you need ahead of this afternoon’s 11:30 a.m. local start in Dallas for the Stars and Bruins.

-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning indicating that the mumps outbreak for his team won’t impact the trade deadline.
 
-- For something completely different: the headline seems a little click baity to me, but I’ll read about anything involving Homer Simpson and the Baseball Hall of Fame.