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.
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Don’t confuse the goal of a normal spring training with the likelihood one will follow.
Tyler Thornburg’s time with the Red Sox has been an ordeal. He’s optimistic he can have a regular spring training after undergoing surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome in June, a surgery that included the removal of a rib which is now on display at his parents’ house.
He said Saturday, in fact, there’s a “very good chance” of a normal spring. But there’s also a chance his build up to regular-season form runs unevenly. And that would be OK.
“I started throwing Oct. 2, that’s when they kind of gave me the go-ahead to go tossing,” Thornburg said Saturday at Winter Weekend. “So I’ve been building up slowly since then, just trying to make sure we don’t have any setbacks or things like that, and ramp it up at a good pace. I’m throwing at 120-140 feet, so it’s about the pace I’d normally be on, granted I’d know 100 percent before where I was [under normal circumstances]. So things could be a little different."
Consider a few other things Thornburg said Saturday at Foxwoods.
“I don’t really think any of us really know how quick I’m going to bounce back necessarily as far as how quickly the recovery’s going to go in spring training after an outing,” Thornburg said. “But hopefully I mean it’s fantastic, and we can kind of just keep going.”
A bit of natural uncertainty. He missed an entire season, and the reason he missed an entire season is had a lot going on medically.
What appeared to be a shoulder injury was far from your usual, say, rotator cuff matter. His was a nerve issue.
“Two of the neck muscles were incredibly hypertrophied, like overgrown, and they just started squeezing on the brachial plexus, where all the nerves run down,” Thornburg said. “I’d be sitting there watching a game and just a nerve thing would hit me and I’d almost get knocked over by it. As well as the first rib was getting pulled up and my hand would just turn red some days if I was just standing there, cutting off the blood circulation. Then all the scar tissue and buildup along the nerves they had to go and dissect all that off there.”
So the injury wasn’t simple, and now, the recovery process is really a whole body matter.
"There’s a lot off things your arm has to get used to between using different muscles, as well as my arm was kind of working through a scenario where it was trying to overcompensate for this and [trying] to relieve that,” Thornburg said. “So just worked a different way. Now your body has to remember how to actually properly work again. It’s a lot of neuromuscular stuff.”
Thornburg noted the possibility too he could be ready to go to start the season but not really ready to go back to back yet. Would the Sox then carry him on the big league roster, or continue to build him up elsewhere?
Velocity won’t be there right away for Thornburg, he said: “But I mean that’s what spring training is for for most guys anyway.”
There’s a lot of optimism, but naturally, there’s a lot to be seen.
“The rehab process, it's been a massive rollercoaster,” Thornburg said. “It really has. But I mean, I've been trying to take it week to week which has been a lot easier. There's the good days and bad days, just different kinds.”
NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Coming off a phenomenal season, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel spent the offseason in Boston. Not to be closer to Fenway Park, but for proximity to something far more important: the city’s first-rate medical community.
Kimbrel’s daughter, Lydia Joy, was born in November with a heart issue.
MORE RED SOX:
- Werner: Sox feel pressure to keep up with Yankees and Astros
- Hanley wants to play "10 more years"; E-Rod pleased after surgery
- DRELLICH: Dombrowski's messaging about lack of moves misses mark
“It’s been a lot,” Kimbrel said Saturday at Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. “My wife and I, we’ve kept it kind of private. But when she was born, she had some heart defects so we decided to stay in Boston and work with Children’s Hospital and just been going through that ordeal and it’s had its ups and downs but she’s doing great right now."
Focusing wasn't always easy in season, but Kimbrel said his daughter's condition has motivated him even more.
“They always say when you have a child, things change and they have," he said. "I’m definitely more focused towards her and her needs and our family needs. It’s just one day at a time and give everything I got. It’s real easy to look at her and understand everything I’m doing is for her and it makes it a lot easier.”
Kimbrel and his wife, Ashley, found out early in the 2017 season that they would be staying in Boston for the winter and were preparing.
“Everything has kind of gone as planned so far,” Kimbrel said. “She’ll have another surgery during spring training, so I’ll come back to Boston for a week and do that, but it’s been good. It’s definitely been tough, but one of the happiest, joyful times of our life.”
"Being in Boston, we feel blessed, because the doctors are the best in the world. Being able to work with them has been great.”
Kimbrel said his wife has stayed in touch with Travis Shaw’s wife. The Shaw family has had a similar experience, Kimbrel said.
“It seems like they’re doing pretty good,” Kimbrel said. “It’s been very encouraging to see.”
NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE