BOSTON Closer Andrew Bailey, who has been on the disabled list all season after surgery on his right thumb, threw a bullpen session Wednesday, with about 25 pitches, and is expected to throw another on Friday. After that, he and the Red Sox will re-evaluate to see what the next step is.Its kind of up to them, what they feel, Bailey said Thursday afternoon in the Sox clubhouse. For me, its just about seeing hitters and it doesnt really matter what level its at. For me its about going out, working on things I need to work on to be able to pitch at this level.He felt great yesterday when I talked to him, after throwing his first time in the bullpen, manager Bobby Valentine said. I didnt get him yet today. But hes got a program where hes going to throw in the bullpen and then throw to some hitters and then hes going to start pitching in some games. And hopefully be back.Bailey was delayed in spring training because of a strained lat muscle he suffered doing the vertical jump in his spring training physical. He suffered the thumb injury at the end of the spring.But with the thumb now a non-issue, its a matter of building up arm strength.Theres still residual achiness, I guess you would say. But the thumb was stable and thats what we were looking for. And now all thats gone. Its basically 100 percent.Ive been throwing flat-ground curveballs, cutters, everything. And just kind of working them all into the mound and then into BPs and that kind of stuff.Bailey has visited Dr. Thomas Graham, who performed the April 4 surgery, twice, around the two-week and six-week post-surgery mark.I just knew that right around that seven- or eight-week mark is when you could actually throwing a baseball again, Bailey said. So in terms of that, it was right on schedule and for us to get back, or for me to get back its just kind of a spring training type thing. You take eight weeks off of throwing thats a big step back. So you got to work your way up.It hasnt been easy to sit and watch without being able to participate.Now that Im throwing bullpens its even more nerve wracking not being able to, he said. You sit there, it doesnt matter if Im here or in Florida. Eighth ninth inning come around youre like the adrenaline starts going. But yeah Im excited and things are going really well.Bailey praised the work of Alfredo Aceves, who is 17-for-20 in save opportunities this season.Hes done great, nothing wrong with what hes doing, Bailey said. Hes shutting the door down and its fun to watch that. Thats a hard situation to jump into, me going down at the end of spring training and him fighting for that starters job and then having to go into closers mentality right away. Hes done a fantastic job. You cant really ask for anything better from him.Bailey will stay with the team through the homestand, which goes through Wednesday. He will then travel back to the teams Fort Myers training complex before going out on a rehab assignment. There is no timetable on a return to the team yet.Its hard to think that hell get here without having those eight nor nine rehab innings under his belt, Valentine said. Spring training, sometimes to get those eight innings, because of so many other people, you have to wait an extra day. Where here we wont have to wait when hes ready. Hell be able to get on the thrill of hills.Although Bailey said in spring training that he wanted to get eight or nine innings in, he doesnt have a target number of rehab innings.No, not really, he said. We havent really talked about it. I would think it would be more than two or three. I havent really faced, even when I was in spring training, kind of battling that thumb thing for a little bit that was in the back of my head. So were just going to take it one at a time and Im sure that we havent even talked about doing back to backs or anything yet. Were just going to take tomorrow and reevaluate: Hey, when do you want to throw the next one? and then hopefully get a couple in during this homestand.
The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, citing "six people who witnessed . . . the incident", provided details Sunday of the confrontation between current Red Sox pitcher David Price and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, now a part-time member of the Sox broadcast team, on a recent team flight from Boston to Toronto.
As earlier reported, Price berated Eckersley over innocuous on-air comments by Eck regarding a rehab start by Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. From Shaughnessy:
On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!’’
When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’
Many players applauded.
Eckersley made his way to the back of the plane as players in the middle of the plane started their card games. In the middle of the short flight, Eckersley got up and walked toward the front where Sox boss Dave Dombrowski was seated. When Eckersley passed through the card-playing section in the middle, Price went at him again, shouting, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’
When Price was asked about it the next day, he said only, “Some people just don’t understand how hard this game is.’’
Price later said he was merely standing up for his teammates and "[whatever] crap I catch for that, I’m fine with it.’’
Shaughnessy, citing "three people close to Eckersley," reported that neither Price nor manager John Farrell has apologized to Eckersley.
BOSTON — Rafael Devers is here and there’s a bundle of reasons to be excited. There’s reason, too, to be skeptical.
Here is a look at the potential pros and cons, depending on Devers’ success. We’ll start with the good as the 20-year-old top prospect heads to the big leagues for the first time.
Infusion of energy
In the same way a trade can bring a boost of morale, so too can the promotion of a top prospect. It’s new blood walking through the door, either way. There’s help for a group of hitters — and by extension, pitchers lacking run support — who need to see a lift from the front office. Sox manager John Farrell previously acknowledged the sense of anticipation leading up to the trade deadline. The mood heading into Devers’ first game should be an exciting one.
Virtually anything is better than what the Sox have had offensively at third base. Devers’ minor league hitting has been a spectacle. They wanted to see how he adjusted to Double-A pitching and he did so admirably. He walked into Triple-A and kept raking, with three hits in his final game. The ceiling is very high.
Theoretically this applies to Devers directly. If the Sox wanted to deal him, he’d be worth more as a big leaguer with some success. But if we believe everything the Sox say, they don’t want to trade him. They’d be crazy to do so. Leverage, then, comes in another form. Those teams that the Sox have talked to about third-base help, or hitting help, in general now get a message from the Sox of “Hey, we don’t need you.” Potentially, any way.
Feet wet for the future
A taste isn’t always a good thing, but it often is. One way or another, the Red Sox have to hope that Devers’ first stint in the big leagues lays the groundwork for the future. Growing pains might be inevitable but in some way, the sooner he can go through them, the better. If he comes off the bench at times, that’ll be a new experience he can have under his belt, although you wouldn’t expect he’ll need that skill too much early in his career.
Prospects saved, or repurposed
It’d still be a stunner if the Sox don’t make a trade at the deadline. It just wouldn’t be the Dombrowski way to stay idle. But Devers’ arrival might allow for a different allocation of resources. Whatever prospects the Sox were willing to put toward a third-base upgrade could go toward another bat, or a reliever or both.
This is the biggest concern. Even if Devers rakes for the first week and thereby convinces the Red Sox they don’t need to trade for a third baseman, what does one week really tell them? A month isn’t really enough, either, but it would have been a lot better. (There is always the possibility of a trade in August.) Devers is still missing what the position has been missing all along — a known quantity. Someone with a major league track record, someone who can provide as much certainty as can reasonably be found.
Promoting Devers to the majors for the purposes of evaluation ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline would have been wiser at the start of July. He was raking after two months at Portland. It’s clear the Sox didn’t intend to move Devers with this kind of speed. They’ve adjusted on the fly, which is necessary sometimes, but Dombrowski said on July 14 — the day Devers was moved to Triple-A — that "I don't want to put it on his back that we're counting on him in a pennant race.” Didn’t take long for that to change.
Devers made four errors in 12 games at Pawtucket and has 16 in 72 games between there and Portland. One scout who has seen Devers doesn’t think he’s ready defensively yet. From there, it’s worth noting the context at this position: how chaotic third base has been for the Sox this season. Basic plays were not made for a time, and that’s how Deven Marrero ended up with a job. A drop off in defense is fine, but repeated errors on routine plays won’t work, particularly at a position where the Sox have already lived those woes.
It’s a natural worry for a 20-year-old kid: if he doesn’t do well, can he handle it mentally? He wouldn’t be in the big leagues if the Sox didn’t think so. At the same time, you run the risk of a slow-down for a player who was chugging right along. Devers is poised to share time for now, which means he may well come off the bench, something he hasn’t had to do.
Loss of leverage
If Devers looks bad for a week — as in, truly overmatched — the Sox aren’t going to have any better position for a trade for an established infielder or bat. If anything, the potential trade partner would gain ground.