In a turn of events that should shock nobody, Andrew Bailey’s debut as the Red Sox closer will most likely be pushed back due to a thumb injury. WEEI reported earlier today that “Andrew Bailey is dealing with right thumb soreness that could result in a season-opening stint on the disabled list. The Red Sox are still gathering information on the injury as they determine how to proceed with the pitcher.”
When the Red Sox acquired Bailey in the off season to replace Jonathan Papelbon as the the team’s closer for the 2012 campaign, the biggest issue wasn’t his pitching, it wasn’t how he dealt in high-pressure situations, it was whether or not Bailey could stay on the field.
Bailey has put up good numbers in the 3 years he spent as Oakland’s closer with a 2.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 75 saves in 174.0 IP. However, 83.1 of those innings came in his rookie season of 2009 and has not been able to break 50 innings in the last 2 seasons. Baileys injuries have ranged from a strained intercostal muscle in 2010, a strained forearm (coming out of Spring Training as well) in 2011, and a mild lat strain that sidelined him for a good portion of this year’s spring activities.
This move also makes it more clear as to why Alfredo Aceves was moved to the bull pen for the start of this season. No official announcement has come out as of yet whether Bailey will indeed get put of the Disabled List nor about who would move into the closer role for the time being.