BOSTON Just as Vicente Padillas injury has left the Red Sox with a hole in the middle portion of their bullpen, help appears to be on the way in the form of Andrew Bailey.
The Sox right-handed reliever has yet to throw a pitch for the Sox this season, but has piled up some excellent rehab appearances including back-to-back games for Pawtucket on Wednesday and Thursday.
Bailey pitched one clean inning with a strikeout on Wednesday night for the PawSox, and registered two more Ks in another inning of work Thursday afternoon for Bostons Triple-A ballclub. Bailey is scheduled for another rehab inning of work for Pawtucket on Sunday, and the Sox staff will then begin to formulate a more concrete plan for when he could join Bostons bullpen.
If we dont have Padilla then Bailey could be pretty important for that role, said Valentine. Bailey had good velocity, they liked his cutter and he threw his curveball once or twice.
Hell pitch Sunday. Its hard to make a decision from Cleveland, but well try to collect all of the data. Well see how he feels. Id rather see him get a couple of outs and then pitch another inning, but well see.
Bailey has struck out nine and given up one run in five innings of rehab work while attempting to get off the 60-day disabled list following thumb surgery.
Sox manager Bobby Valentine said theyd like to see Bailey work a partial inning, cool down in the dugout and then return to the mound as one of the final hurdles before declaring him healthy. So Bailey may be in line for at least one more rehab appearance beyond Sunday, but Valentine indicated the medicaltraining staff reports will weight heaviest factoring into the decision.
The Sox are anticipating his return sooner rather than later given Padillas injury, and their move to deal away right-handed reliever Matt Albers in favor of lefty specialist Craig Breslow.
Early, middle and lately weve had to lean on the bullpen. Its a little bit of a different mix out there since Breslow has gotten here. Albers was an inning-plus right-hander and he was replaced by Breslow, who is an inning or less left-hander. Its a little bit of a different mix.
Valentine cited Junichi Tazawa and Matt Melancon as righties that should benefit with greater workloads in the absence of Albers. But it will eventually come down to Bailey as the power-armed guy slamming the door in the latter innings along with closer-of-the-present Alfredo Aceves.
Valentine said Josh Beckett was feeling good in all the important areas back, shoulder and psyche after throwing 86 pitches and getting bombed for eight runs in Wednesday afternoons loss to the Texas Rangers. The good news was that he was feeling healthy, and the even-better news was that Valentine expected the righty to be better in his next start after back spasms through off his normal routine.
We had Mike Reinold in today and like we mentioned in the postgame yesterday he sometimes doesnt have quite have his touch after a long rest, said Valentine. But the next time he does, and we hope thats the case. He had no after effects in his back or his shoulder. His legs felt strong throughout the game.
Adrian Gonzalez was giving the "Golden Tee" arcade game in the visitor's clubhouse a workout prior to Thursday night's game, but shockingly "Big Buck Hunter" went unmanned.