Bailey making up for lost time


Bailey making up for lost time

TORONTO -- When he missed the first three-quarters of the season, only to return and find that his team was inexorably drifting out of playoff contention, it surely must have felt to Andrew Bailey that his first season in Boston was a lost one.

A freak collision and fall in spring training resulted in a torn ligament in his right thumb, a date with the surgeon in early April and many weeks and months of frustration.

Now, however, Bailey is intent on making up for lost time. No matter what he does, of course, he's not about to get the Red Sox back into the playoff chase. But by finishing strong in the final six weeks, he can salvage this year and set a foundation for 2013.

On Saturday, he closed out his second game in as many days, and his fourth since returning from the DL. In eight of his last nine outings and 11 of his 13 overall, he's unscored upon.

"I wish I had him all year, that's all I know,'' said Bobby Valentine of his closer. "His curveball's coming along. He's pitching with confidence. He's not afraid to challenge a hitter. It's good to see him. He's throwing the ball well.''

Indeed, for someone who didn't pitch in a major league game until mid-August this season, Bailey looks remarkably locked in.

"Definitely,'' agreed Bailey. "The rehab assignement was like spring training (all over) again. And it was nice the way that Bobby used me in the beginning -- one-third (of an inning) or two-thirds, kind of getting my feet wet. Looking back, that was pretty good. I feel pretty good now - no problems whatsoever and no issues across the board.''

In a sense, Bailey's return couldn't have been timed better. Alfredo Aceves, his replacement in the closer's role, was faltering as Bailey came back and a tantrum when he got passed over for a closing opportunity in favor of Bailey seemed to seal his fate.

Ever since, Bailey has handled the final three outs in the few games in which the Sox have led.

"Any inning you pitch, you have to have that (closer) mentality,'' he said. "The name of the game is scoring runs and we've got to put up zeroes. That's the mentality I have, no mattter what inning I pitch. But it's just nice to get back in those situations and have that adrenaline rush again and have the game on the line and the ball in your hand.''

Closing games has never been the issue for Bailey; staying healthy has been. He's spent time on the DL in each of the last four seasons. But when he's been able to pitch, he's been remarkably consistent: he's converted 79 of his 88 save chances in his major league career, a conversion rate of better than 90 percent.

"For me,'' he said, "injuries are terrible and very frustrating. But you have to keep on looking forward and realize that the day that you're active and helping the team win ballgames will come. That's what I'm doing know.

"It's going out there and getting as many innings as I can and getting my work in. I'm staying focused on this year, but also getting that work in for next year as well.''

Somewhat to his surprise, his curve -- a feel pitch which takes time to develop even under the best of circumstances -- has come around quicker than expected. Even his fastball, which he normally throws 92-94 mph, has a bit of extra zip.

None of that will help the Red Sox in the here and now. The Red Sox season itself was lost before Bailey could arrive to help. But wins like the ones he and they picked up Friday and Saturday go a little way in erasing the frustration.

Dombrowski, Red Sox making adjustments in wake of recent departures


Dombrowski, Red Sox making adjustments in wake of recent departures

In recent days and weeks, the Red Sox have lost their general manager, their vice president of amateur and international scouting, an assistant director of amateur scouting, a member of their analytics department and their mental skills coach.

But Dave Dombrowski, the team's president of baseball operations, insists that the team is not in danger of "brain drain.''

"No, not at all,'' said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in a conference call with reporters. "We've lost some good people, but it's also a situation where we have a lot of good people and I think when you have a good organization, if you're winning and you expose people to situations, (a certain amount of exodus) happens. I think the other part of it is that we're more than capable of filling some of those roles from an internal perspective. We've got some quality people and I think the thing that's great about it is, it allows people to grow.''

Dombrowski announced that, in the wake of the departure of Amiel Sawdaye, the former VP of amateur and international scouting who left Monday to become assistant GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Sox were promoting Eddie Romero, formerly the vice president of international scouting, to the position of senior vice president/ assistant GM.

Romero, the son of former Red Sox utility infielder Eddie Romero Sr. will help Dombrowski in personnel matters and player development, while Brian O'Halloran, who has the same title as Romero, will continue to handle administrative matters including salary arbitration and contactual negotiations.

After the departure of Mike Hazen, who left to become GM of the Diamondbacks last week, Dombrowski interviewed Sawdaye and Romero as Hazen's potential replacements before determining that neither had the necessary experience yet to become a major league GM.

Dombrowski said there would be additional internal promotions and adjustments to announce in the coming weeks. He added that senior advisors Frank Wren and Allard Baird, each former general managers, would see their responsibilities increase when it comes to conducting trade talks with other organizations.

Sawdaye's departure is one of several this off-season for the front office. Earlier this month, Steve Sanders, who had been the team's assistant director of amateur scouting, left to become director of amateur scouting for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Also, Tom Tippett, a longtime member of the team's statistical analysis staff, will leave soon too pursue other opportunities. The team recently informed mental skills coach Bob Tewksbury that his contact would not be renewed, according to the Boston Globe.

Dombrowski indicated that Laz Gutierrez would be promoted to take the place of Tewksbury.

In other news, Dombrowski revealed that the entire coaching staff -- hitting coach Chili Davis; assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez; first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr.; third base coach Brian Butterfield; bullpen coach Dana LeVangie; pitching coach Carl Willis; and bench coach Torey Lovullo -- had all agreed to return for 2017.

That, of course, is subject to change since Lovullo is believed to be a target of Hazen for Arizona's managerial vacancy.

Dombrowski said the Diamondbacks had yet to request permission to speak with Lovullo, though that may happen soon now that Hazen has hired Sawdaye to fill out his front office.

When Hazen was hired by the Diamondbacks, he was limited to hiring just one member of the Red Sox' Baseball Operations staff. But, Dombrowski added, that limit didn't apply to uniformed staff members such as Lovullo, who would be leaving for a promotion.


Red Sox promote Eddie Romero assistant general manager, won't hire GM to replace Hazen


Red Sox promote Eddie Romero assistant general manager, won't hire GM to replace Hazen

The Red Sox on Tuesday named Eddie Romero senior vice president and assistant general manager. In a press release announcing the move, the team stated it will not fill the position of general manager for the time being. 

Romero’s promotion comes following the departure of general manager Mike Hazen, who left this month to become Arizona’ GM. Hazel brought Amiel Sawdaye, who had served as Boston’s vice president of international and amateur scouting, with him to the Diamondbacks, with Sawdaye serving as an assistant GM for Arizona. 

The 37-year-old Romero is the son of former Red Sox infielder Ed Romero Rr. Romero served last season as Boston’s vice president of international scouting, overseeing amateur scouting in Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Europe. 

Romero is in his 11th season with the Red Sox, having previously worked in international and professional scouting for the team and becoming Boston’s director of international scouting in 2012.