BOSTON His return isnt imminent, but Andrew Bailey is edging into the close category.
The man who would be closer for the Sox hasnt thrown a pitch for them all season after undergoing thumb surgery during spring training, but hes getting ready to make his third rehab appearance for the Sox this weekend.
It will be for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs on Sunday afternoon after hitting 92-mph in his two stints with the Gulf Coast League to kick things off. Bailey took Saturday off to meet with his family in Boston and take a breather before the next step in his rehab process. The hard-throwing righty will need at least three or four more rehab appearances at a minimum before he could even be considered for Major League activation, and will need to pitch in back-to-back games andor multiple innings before being cleared for takeoff.
But Bailey feels goods, and thats the most important thing.
We had to shut it down for a little bit when he first tried to come back, but Im feeling good now, said Bailey, who has notched four strikeouts and surrendered only one hit in his two innings of rehab work in the GCL. Ive got that good extension on my fastball. I just need to go out and get outs, and keep feeling good. Now its just a matter of working my way back here. Hopefully that will be soon.
Im getting ready for a month-long season and then hopefully the playoffs afterward.
Its uncertain what role Bailey would slide into for a Sox team thats fading off into the sunset as August gets underway, and getting a solid workman-like performance at the closer spot from Alfredo Aceves. He also doesnt much seem to care as long as good health follows him after a star-crossed first season in Boston.
In my second game I was throwing fastball, split and curveball, and that was a good sign, said Bailey. I dont give a expletive, frankly what the role is. I just want to pitch. Aceves has been an ace in the hole for the bullpen all year, so whatever role they need me to do is perfectly fine.
It will certainly give the bullpen a boost with the return of a power-armed 28-year-old thats averaged 25 saves a season over the last three years for the Oakland As. But it also appears to be too little, too late for a Sox team that couldnt quite get it going this season.