Bailey frustrated, but pragmatic, about injury

Bailey frustrated, but pragmatic, about injury
April 6, 2012, 8:06 pm
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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."