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Andrew Bailey set for ligament surgery, likely to miss first half

Apr 3, 2012, 6:36 PM EDT

Andrew Bailey Reuters

A second opinion confirmed that Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey has a torn UCL in his right thumb. He’s scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday and will likely miss 3-4 months.

It turns out that Bailey was hurt in a collision with Pittsburgh’s Alex Presley at first base in his March 21 outing, though he thought nothing of it initially and made two more appearances afterwards on March 24 and 25. When his thumb became more of a problem, the Red Sox sent him for tests and the torn ligament was found.

While it’s disappointing news on the heels of a seemingly disappointing winter for Red Sox fans, this isn’t necessarily the worst thing for the team. Given his history of elbow problems, Bailey wasn’t at all likely to pitch 70 innings this season anyway. Now he’ll only need his elbow to hold up for half the year, increasing the chances that he’ll help the Red Sox in September and, hopefully, October.

In the meantime, the Red Sox can turn the closer’s role over to either Mark Melancon, who closed for the Astros last year, or Mr. Versatility, Alfredo Aceves. The guess here is that Melancon will get the first crack at the role, with Aceves serving as the fallback.

The Red Sox have no plans to shift Daniel Bard back to the pen to help replace Bailey, but that too will be a possibility if he doesn’t adjust well to a rotation role. Aaron Cook has looked better than expected while being brought along slowly this spring and could step into the rotation by the end of April if the Red Sox decide Bard isn’t working out.

Update: A source told the Boston Herald that Bailey is more likely to miss 4-5 months than 3-4. Bobby Valentine said he has no plans to identify a closer right now and that we’ll just have to settle for finding out when the first save situation arises.

  1. uyf1950 - Apr 3, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    It’s unfortunate. But considering this kids injury history…….

    • bigharold - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:07 PM

      I see Ben’s picking right where Theo left off.

      • skeleteeth - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:09 AM

        This was a trade, not a free agent signing. Theo’s trades paid dividends for the most part.

  2. hammyofdoom - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Well this sucks, I mean this isn’t even an injury history thing, just crap luck. However, I do think that this MAY turn out to be a good thing, seeing how as said he wasn’t going to pitch 70 innings anywho and honestly the closer isn’t even the most important relief pitcher on staff (I can’t remember the study, but it was looked at and since the advent of the closer the 9th inning leads of 3 or less that was held by the winning team did not change, its always been in the mid 90 percent range.) Melancon will be fine in the closers role, the bad part is this takes away an arm from the bullpen that could sorely be needed but if anything is relatively easy to pick up its one more piece for the pen.

  3. aceshigh11 - Apr 3, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    ^% #$^ %& %*&% ^$#&^I *&%&^$^%!!!

    • dirtyharry1971 - Apr 4, 2012 at 1:49 AM

      now i know ace dont like me and thats ok with me, it has something to do with his sister i think but i think baston will be fine here. #1 Jenks is the future answer to the bullpen here, he SHOULD be the closer and i pray to god he is ready to take over. #2 baston signed Melancon and i mean that should answer all questions, lets be real here. Sorry “ace” if i upset you in the past to the point you had to write such negative words about me but as you can see i still love ya man. I hope you can feel that love, i really do.

  4. randygnyc - Apr 3, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    ( : – )

    • cur68 - Apr 4, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      Jeez, man.

  5. illadelphiasphinest - Apr 3, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Kid is more fragile then a 90yr old woman.

  6. randomdigits - Apr 3, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    I guess that thumb rasslin’ league they started up wasn’t a good idea.

  7. scatterbrian - Apr 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Stupid A’s trading away their All-Star closer….

  8. 13yrsmlbvet - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Karma is a bitch. Has to make all those Big Bang Theory nerds running that front office shake with fear. Payback for all the people that group screwed over this off season.

    • scatterbrian - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:53 PM

      I’m assuming the “people” you’re referring to are the players. Or perhaps the fans. Either way, how did the front office screw any of them?

    • hammyofdoom - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      I THINK he’s trying to talk about Epstein and Francona? Epstein was going no matter what, the job in Chicago was a promotion and Francona did get railed granted. But…other than that, I dunno who he could be talking about

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:41 PM

      Has to make all those Big Bang Theory nerds running that front office shake with fear.

      Please tell me you are a creationist, please god I’ve been good!

      • skeleteeth - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:05 AM

        Carl?? Carl Everett, is that you??

    • scatterbrian - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:42 PM

      Incidentally, your insult seems a bit flawed. The characters on The Big Bang Theory do not know a thing about baseball, let alone sports in general, and would likely never take to running a baseball team, real or fantasy.

      If they did, however, they’d probably propose exposing Carl Crawford to a radioactive spider so he could cover left field horizontally as well as laterally. Or maybe they’d be inspired by Eddie Gaedel and attempt to breed a Hobbit. Or construct a Dr. Octopus-like harness for their pitchers, giving them all the ability to throw any pitch from either side.


    • cur68 - Apr 4, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      What are you talking about? Taking joy, or seeing cosmic significance in the injury to another seems low rent to me. Sox superfans everywhere (you know who you are) think less of anyone who espouses such sentiments. Some of those superfans are pretty good lookin’, smart, funny women. Do try and keep that in mind, eh?

  9. storebrandcookies - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Bad news for the Red Sox. I can’t think of one person in that bullpen that can step up and be the closer in Bailey’s absence. This could mean that the Koji Uehara rumors will stir up again and I’m believing that Boston would offer a couple decent prospects to Texas. I’ve read that Koji wants to return to Baltimore a couple months back and declined a trade to Toronto. But if I were Koji, I would rather pitch in Boston than in Baltimore.

    • odj810 - Apr 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      I think aceves could be a good closer. He’s a bull. However what worries me is now the middle relief getting to the top. because it weakens the entire bullpen having to move people up a spot. though i’m not sold that it completely weakens the ninth. Lets see what aceves can do. I will say i don’t trust melancon. Blew 5 saves out of 25 in the NL, in that division? no thanks. Earn your stripes in the AL east setting up before you get a shot.

  10. hitdog042 - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Jenks? U mean the guy facing legal issues who’s out for the year? That Jenks? Seriously… test needed to post please…..

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