Boston Red Sox: Andrew Bailey

Bailey undergoes shoulder surgery

July, 24, 2013
BOSTON -- Speaking before Wednesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed that reliever Andrew Bailey's season-ending shoulder surgery with New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek was performed Wednesday afternoon.

"I last texted him as he was actually heading to the [operating room]," Farrell said. "That was the last I heard from him."

On Sunday, Farrell announced that Bailey would have the surgery after it was determined that the need for the operation was "clear cut."

Speaking with reporters on Friday, Bailey revealed that he had a torn capsule, damage to his labrum and a strain in one of his rotator cuff muscles. Although an aggressive, non-surgical rehab was an option, the right-hander said that the only way the problem would be 100 percent fixed would be through surgery.

Shoulder surgery generally entails about a one-year recovery process. Farrell said a more specific timetable for Bailey wasn't immediately available.

In 30 games with the Red Sox this season, Bailey converted eight of his 13 save opportunities while posting an ERA of 3.77.

Sox confirm Bailey needs surgery

July, 21, 2013
BOSTON – Recognizing that surgery was unavoidable, Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery Wednesday in New York, manager John Farrell announced Sunday.

The procedure will be performed by Dr. David Altchek, medical director for the New York Mets and co-chief in the Sports Medicine & Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery.

Bailey said Friday he has a torn capsule, damage to his labrum and a strain of one of the muscles that comprise the rotator cuff. He estimated a recovery period of 12 months.

"The only way to fix this is surgery -- 100 percent fix it," Bailey said. "This isn't going to heal on its own.''

Bailey becomes the second Red Sox closer and third reliever to be lost to season-ending surgery. Joel Hanrahan had Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in May, left-handed setup man Andrew Miller underwent season-ending surgery for a torn ligament in his left foot last week, and now Bailey, who said he felt pain in his shoulder while making a pitch a week ago Friday in Oakland but added he suspected his condition was “building” since he was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis earlier in the season.

Bailey was a two-time All-Star closer for Oakland when the Red Sox traded for him after the 2011 season, acquiring Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney in a trade with the Athletics for outfielder Josh Reddick and two minor leaguers. But Bailey has not been fully healthy since 2009, when he was American League Rookie of the Year, and his injury woes only worsened in Boston.

Last season, Bailey was limited to 19 games after tearing the UCL ligament in his right thumb in a freak spring training injury, and posted a 7.04 ERA and 6 saves.

This season, he was sidelined with biceps tendinitis at the end of April that caused him to miss 21 games, and he never fully recovered his velocity thereafter, losing the closer’s job he’d inherited when Hanrahan was injured by giving up five home runs in a span of five appearances.

While in Oakland, Bailey missed 52 games in 2011 with a forearm strain, and in 2010 twice ended up on the DL, once for an intracostal strain, the second time for surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow.

Bailey: 'Good day' with 1-2-3 seventh

July, 4, 2013
BOSTON -- It had been a while since Andrew Bailey last saw the mound for the Boston Red Sox. Before his seventh-inning appearance in Thursday's 8-2 win over the San Diego Padres, the last time the former Red Sox closer got in a game was nearly a week ago.

Adjusting to a new role in middle relief, Bailey turned in his first 1-2-3 inning Thursday since April 24, when he earned his fifth save of the season with a perfect ninth while striking out the side against his old Oakland Athletics.

On the Fourth of July, Bailey struck out the first two hitters he faced en route to a 1-2-3 inning. He also worked on fitting in a full array of pitches.

"I threw a curveball, splitter," Bailey said. "We've been working on my cutter to make it a little bit more sharp, not more like a slider. So I was able to do that today and execute all pitches."

Bailey reiterated his commitment to regaining the closer's role, which has been filled by Koji Uehara in recent circumstances. He was tagged with his fifth blown save of the season after allowing a game-tying home run in his last appearance Friday against Toronto.

"The ups and downs of this game, [you] can't get too high with the high, can't get too low with the lows," Bailey said.

He added that nothing mechanical is off-kilter, just that he needs to keep pitching aggressively.

"For me, it's just going out there and challenging hitters and today was a good day for me," Bailey said. "It was nice to have a clean inning."

Sox pick up Uehara with walk-off win

June, 30, 2013
[+] EnlargeUehara/Bautista
AP Photo/Michael DwyerKoji Uehara was crestfallen after giving up Jose Bautista's game-tying home run.
BOSTON -- Et tu, Koji?

Bidding for his fourth save in five days Sunday afternoon, Koji Uehara was only two outs away from completing that mission when right-fielder Shane Victorino made a sliding catch of Jose Reyes' liner on the right-field line.

But that thought perished when the next batter, Jose Bautista, crushed a ball off the Sports Authority sign, tying the score at 4-4 and adding Uehara's name to the list of Sox relievers who have been taken deep, a familiar scene in the past couple of weeks.

It was the eighth home run allowed by a Sox reliever in the past 15 games. Andrew Bailey gave up four in that span and lost the closer's job; Junichi Tazawa has given up two, including a two-run home run to Bautista that broke a 2-all tie Saturday. Franklin Morales has given up one, and on Sunday, Uehara gave up his first home run since Domonic Brown of the Phillies took him deep on May 29 in Philadelphia.

Four of the home runs have resulted in blown saves. Four -- three allowed by Bailey, and Sunday's off Uehara -- have come in the ninth inning. The two allowed by Tazawa have been in the eighth inning.

Bautista's home run Sunday resulted in a blown save for Uehara, but he emerged a winner when the Sox scored in the bottom of the ninth. He was the first to reach Shane Victorino at first base for the celebration of Boston's seventh walk-off win this season.

[+] EnlargeKoji Uehara and Shane Victorino
AP Photo/Michael DwyerKoji Uehara and Shane Victorino celebrate after Boston's 5-4 win over Toronto.
"I was relieved that we got the win," Uehara said, "but I was angry that I lost the win for [Ryan] Dempster."

Uehara has been above reproach all month. He had been scored upon in just one of his 15 appearances this month, posting a 1.50 ERA while striking out 19 batters and walking three in 12 innings. Opposing hitters were batting just .077, as he had allowed just three hits to the 43 batters he'd faced before Sunday. He'd been perfect in his three saves last week, retiring all nine batters he'd faced while striking out six.

But it was just the first time all season he'd pitched on three straight days, and he admitted to being fatigued after Friday night.

Still tired Sunday?

"It was better, of course," Uehara said through translator C.J. Matsumoto. "I can't say it was completely gone. For me, a break is not coming to the ballpark."

The Sox are not scheduled to play Monday. "Tomorrow, a day off," Uehara said in English, smiling broadly.

Manager John Farrell was asked about the recent spate of homers.

"We've given up a number of them," he said. "We have fly-ball pitchers in our bullpen, and in this ballpark it can be risky. But we can't ask guys to change their style or be something that they aren't.

"We might not be a perfect team, but we sit at the top of the division right now. We know where our challenges lie and we're doing what we can to improve in every way that we can."

Said Victorino: "We're down to our fourth or fifth closer," he said. "Name me one team that can go through three or four closers and be where we are. You sit and look at that and you go, 'Wow.'"

Strikes and gutters for Bailey

June, 29, 2013
BOSTON -- Friday night seemed like it was going to be one of progress for Boston Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey.

Entering in relief of starter Allen Webster, who left with a one-run lead, Bailey was set to face the top of the Toronto Blue Jays' dangerous lineup in the top of the seventh.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Bailey
AP Photo/Charles KrupaAndrew Bailey walks to the dugout after giving up a home run to Edwin Encarnacion.
After Bailey struck out both Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista to start the inning, Blue Jays third baseman Edwin Encarnacion stepped up to the plate. And it became déjà vu all over again for Bailey.

"I got the first two guys and I was just trying to challenge the third guy," Bailey said after the game.

Encarnacion accepted Bailey's challenge, cranking a 94 mph fastball over the center-field wall to tie the game. The home run allowed was Bailey's fifth in his past seven appearances.

"Right now when they're hitting me, they're hitting me hard," Bailey said. "You've got to learn from your mistakes, and if you dwell on them you take that into your next outing."

The Red Sox were able to pick Bailey up shortly afterward, scoring two in the seventh to lead to an eventual 7-5 win. However, Bailey knows that there still is work to be done.

"This is a very frustrating time, but I know that I still have confidence," Bailey said. "It really challenges your character when you're struggling, and you've just got to keep grinding and get back out there."

Despite the struggle, there were still some positives to take away from Bailey's outing. Both his strikeouts to Reyes and Bautista were on fastballs, the pitch on which he's been struggling to get swings and misses. Manager John Farrell believes that this will be the key for Bailey moving forward.

"We saw the swing and miss to the fastball up, that's somewhat been his trademark so there's better life up through the zone," Farrell said. "I thought the two [strikeouts] were very encouraging."

For now, Bailey is focused on taking away the positives from his outing. Although it resulted in another blown lead, the former closer was happy to get another shot at performing in a pressure situation.

"I feel like that's where I belong," Bailey said. "It's been a rough couple of outings and I just got to keep grinding. I know I can get the job done."

Uehara to serve as Sox closer

June, 21, 2013

DETROIT -- The Boston Red Sox named Koji Uehara their closer Friday, replacing the struggling Andrew Bailey.

"I can't say there won't be the need that we use other guys, but where we are today, Koji will close out if we get in that situation tonight," Red Sox manager John Farrell said prior to Friday night's game against the Detroit Tigers. "I think we're very confident when he walks out to the mound. He's had success in closing opportunities, so there's not only an element of dependability but success in the past that we're turning to."

Uehara had 13 saves in 201 with the Baltimore Orioles. He also had 32 saves while in Japan in 2007.

Bailey It's just kind of giving me a little breather. It's understandable for sure. I wasn't doing the job, and I totally get it. One bad week doesn't necessarily make a bad year.

-- Andrew Bailey
More recently, he had one save last year with the Texas Rangers and has one this season for the Red Sox.

"I'm not going to change anything," Uehara said through a translator Friday. "I'll do my best about going on with my business."

In 30 innings of work this season, Uehara has 42 strikeouts and just seven walks, including two intentional.

"We're staying internal right now," Farrell said. "I know Ben [Cherington, general manager] is always on the lookout to improve the team within reason. So for the time being we're staying with who we have."

The move comes after Bailey blew his third save in his last five tries Thursday night, giving up a two-run homer to Detroit's Jhonny Peralta in the bottom of the ninth of a 4-3 loss.

"It's just kind of giving me a little breather," Bailey said Friday. "It's understandable for sure. I wasn't doing the job, and I totally get it. One bad week doesn't necessarily make a bad year. The way I was throwing the ball at the beginning, then I missed some time, having a rough go at it right now. Doesn't mean it's been a bad year by any chance.

"I fully believe I'm the guy here to do that job. Right now they're going to go with someone else for a little bit, but I don't think it's a permanent thing. Anything can happen, and I'm fully aware of that. I feel like this is my job. I've got confidence I'll be back in there. I've just got to throw the ball like I can."

Farrell will monitor Uehara closely as chances to save games arise.

"Hopefully we have save opportunities every night," Farrell said. "If he's not available we have confidence it could be Junichi [Tazawa], it could be Andrew Miller and in time Andrew Bailey."

Farrell's decision to go with Uehara was mainly based on his experience of closing out games before.

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Farrell suggests change coming at closer

June, 20, 2013
DETROIT -- Just days after Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington gave Andrew Bailey a vote of confidence, his closer went out there and did the unthinkable again, blowing another save opportunity.

Bailey gave up a two-run, walk-off homer to Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta as the Tigers stunned the Red Sox 4-3 Thursday night at Comerica Park.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Bailey
Duane Burleson/Getty ImagesAndrew Bailey walks off after his third blown save in his last five opportunities.
The blown save is the second straight for Bailey and leaves Red Sox manager John Farrell in search of options in his bullpen.

“Yes, I think so,” Farrell said when asked if he’ll look at other options to close out games. “That might be backing him out of that [role] to get him some work to get on track a little more. We’ll talk more about that internally, about making a potential change.”

Bailey has three blown saves in his last five appearances.

“If he feels that’s necessary, that’s his decision,” Bailey said when told of Farrell's comments. “I’ve got to go out there and get people out. Whatever situation he wants that in, it’s his call. I’ve had success in this league getting people out. I’ve just got to get back to doing it.”

In Bailey’s last five appearances, he’s given up four home runs and walked five, which has helped account for seven earned runs allowed.

“I feel like I have the mentality [to close games],” Bailey said. “I didn’t challenge the first batter of the inning. Maybe I was picking too much. I’ve got to get back to challenging guys. Clearly what I’m doing right now isn’t working. I’ve just got to start getting ahead of guys.

“It’s making better misses,” Bailey continued. “When you’re ahead in the count against guys, you can’t miss over the plate and that’s what I did.”

There also is a question about Bailey’s velocity since his return from the disabled list a month ago for a right biceps strain.

“The velocity hasn’t come back like it was before the DL stint,” Farrell said. “There’s work being done, through long-toss program, through the work that’s being done with the strength and medical staff here. He doesn’t talk of any inflammation or any uncomfortable feeling in the shoulder and yet the results are what they are.”

Bailey feels his velocity isn’t an issue.

“I feel fine,” Bailey said. “I feel great. There are peaks and valleys in this game with velocity in outings. Right now I’ve got a little bit of both going and I’ll come out of it.”

Bailey, who has eight saves on the season, began the ninth inning by walking leadoff hitter Victor Martinez. That was followed by the two-shot from Peralta on a 1-2 count.

“Any time there’s a save opportunity, it’s the cardinal rule, you can’t let the first guy reach base, let alone the tying run,” Bailey said. “I’m just not being myself out there. I’ve got to pitch better.”

[+] EnlargeDavid Ortiz
Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsDavid Ortiz sits in the dugout after the Tigers' walk-off win.
After getting the first two strikes on Peralta, Bailey’s third pitch was delivered high. He left the next pitch out over the plate for the Tigers' shortstop to hit out of the park.

“I felt I had him set up, I just didn’t execute the right pitch and that’s what happens when you’re ahead in the count and leave one out over the plate,” Bailey said.

“He got ahead in the count after a leadoff walk to Martinez and just looking at the pitch on replay, he gets the ball to the edge but with just enough elevation under it, and [Peralta] drives it out of the ballpark,” Farrell said. “Tough way to end the game after I thought we played the game exceptionally clean, [John] Lackey was outstanding once again, but until you record that last out, they’re not over.”

The blown save dampened the outing by Lackey, who gave up two runs on seven hits and fanned five in seven innings of work.

“Your starting pitcher goes out there against a great offense and pitches a hell of a game, it’s very frustrating,” Bailey said. “I’ve got to find a way to grind through it. Everything feels good, it’s just that I’m missing spots, but I’ve got to just keep grinding through it.”

One option to replace Bailey as closer could be left-hander Andrew Miller, who has 43 strikeouts in 26 innings. He’s been lights out against right-handed batters, who are batting just 7-for-47 against Miller.

“It’s been a mixed bag [with Bailey],” Farrell said. “Tonight he’s pitching to keep Victor in the big part of the ballpark and he misses off the plate away for the walk. He was down in the zone unlike the last couple of times against left-handers where he’s gotten the balls up in the heart of the plate and they’ve driven the ball out of the ballpark.

“We’re snakebitten right now.”

Rapid reaction: Rays 6, Red Sox 2

June, 19, 2013

BOSTON -- The Red Sox declared a moratorium on the closer debate Wednesday night, although it was unintentional.

This one was decided well before the ninth inning, as a rare lapse by Sox left-handed reliever Craig Breslow allowed the Tampa Bay Rays to break open a one-run game with a three-run seventh inning en route to a 6-2 win at Fenway Park. A crowd of 35,710 at Fenway Park had little to cheer, other than the updates on another Bruins thriller at the Garden.

The Rays, losers of both ends of a doubleheader Tuesday night, won for just the third time in 12 meetings against the Sox. They have been beaten at Fenway three times on walk-offs this season, which tied the record for the most walk-off losses against an opponent in a season. They’ll have one more chance to break that record in July, when they come in for four games after the All-Star break.

The Sox now head for Detroit and a four-game set against the Central-leading Tigers, who just lost two of three to the Orioles, who have closed to within 1½ games of the Sox again.

You think the Sox have a closer controversy with Andrew Bailey? Detroit closer Jose Valverde gave up five hits and four runs in an inning Wednesday in a non-save situation; in his last eight appearances dating to May 31, Valverde has blown three saves and has a 13.50 ERA, having allowed 11 earned runs in 7 1/3 innings. He also has given up five home runs in that time.

[+] EnlargeRyan Dempster, Desmond Jennings
AP Photo/Michael DwyerSox starter Ryan Dempster looks to home plate as the Rays' Desmond Jennings runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning.
Breslow entered in the seventh with the Rays having built a 3-2 lead at the expense of Sox starter Ryan Dempster, who gave up two runs in the first on a home run by Desmond Jennings, two singles and a sacrifice fly, then another on singles by Jose Molina and Ben Zobrist sandwiched around a walk to Jennings.

Jennings started the seventh-inning rally against Breslow with a one-out single through the left side. Zobrist flied out for the second out, but with Jennings on the move, Evan Longoria drove a ball off the Monster, Jennings scoring all the way from first. James Loney then went the other way, grounding a ball down the third-base line against an overshifted Sox defense for a double, and bringing manager John Farrell out of the dugout to summon Alex Wilson, in his first appearance since his recall from Pawtucket.

Rays prized prospect Wil Myers greeted Wilson with a gap double to right-center, making it 6-2.

Farrell gave Longoria credit for hitting a good pitch.

“I thought [Breslow] was in a good at-bat against Longoria," he said. “He goes down and hits a changeup off the wall. Loney stays inside a ball that we’ve got a little bit of a shift on and finds its way through.

“[This was] another outing where I think he threw the ball like we’ve seen. He’s going to throw the ball over the plate, Longoria stays on a pitch that’s down in the zone and you tip your hat in those situations.”

Jonny Gomes drove in both runs for the Sox off Jeremy Hellickson, who went six innings, allowing seven hits, for the win.

In 11 of Dempster’s 15 starts, the Sox have scored three runs or fewer while he has been in the game, a big reason the club is just 6-9 in games he has pitched.

“I just wish we were winning more of the games that I’m starting," he said. “That’s all I care about, the day I pitch that we win, and we’re not winning those right now. So I’ve just got to keep working hard, keep trying to make better pitches and get better every time out, go out there and give us a chance to win."

[+] EnlargeJacoby Ellsbury
Gail Oskin/Getty ImagesJacoby Ellsbury wasn't happy after lining out to third in the bottom of the seventh of the Sox loss to the Rays.

The Sox closer situation was a prime topic of discussion before the game, with Farrell reiterating his support for Bailey, who has allowed runs in three of his last four appearances and has been taken deep by Jose Lobaton of the Rays, Matt Wieters of the Orioles, and Kelly Johnson of the Rays in an eight-day span.

“Any time you can go to a guy to lock down a game which you’re supposed to win, I think that keeps momentum going within our clubhouse," Farrell said. “It keeps a positive atmosphere within that group.

“And yet, every good player is going to go through some ups and downs along the way, and that’s where our job as a staff comes in, to get them back on track and have them perform to their capabilities.”

Farrell said that on all three home runs, Bailey has been taken deep on fastballs that he left up in the zone, a fastball that has lacked the movement it has when Bailey is at his best. If he can’t rely on that fastball, Farrell said, Bailey has to do a better job of getting ahead in the count and having better command of his secondary stuff, in this case his cutter and curveball.

“I think it’s as much pitch selection and game plan, where he might not have that same second gear to his fastball up in the zone, or he might have to use his secondary pitches earlier in the sequence,’’ Farrell said. “But more importantly, to execute a secondary pitch for a strike, because I think over the last four outings it’s been pretty clear that any time he throws a breaking ball guys are spitting on it until he has thrown it for a strike. So an increase in consistency of strikes with his breaking ball would go a long way.”

Farrell was asked whether he had any concerns that Bailey will regain that “second gear."

“No," he said, "but what we have to deal with is in the now and until that gets back there -- which there’s no reason to think it won’t -- this is what we’re dealing with.”

Since Bailey went on the disabled list May 6 (retroactive to April 29) with biceps tendinitis, missing 19 games, Farrell said he has seen that extra gear only “in flashes."

“Not as consistent as before he went on the DL," Farrell said. “But there’s been no complaints of soreness, no adjustment to his warmup routine. So all those are consistent, [but] we’re dealing with a human being.”

Farrell did not rule out the possibility that other relievers might be considered to close, especially if a closer is required in a succession of games.

“There’s no lack of confidence in other guys, I will tell you that," said Farrell, who acknowledged Andrew Miller as one who could get consideration. “But right now I want to make sure that there’s some level of stability and continuity with that group. I firmly believe that the mental side of this game out there is important for that group, for them to know where they stack up."

Saves have been rare for Sox

June, 12, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Red Sox bullpen has just 11 saves this season entering Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay. Only Cleveland with nine has fewer saves in the American League.

Four teams have blown more saves than the Sox have saved games: the Cubs (13), Dodgers (13), Diamondbacks (13) and Orioles (12).

The Yankees and Orioles, meanwhile, have more than twice as many saves as the Sox, with 25 apiece. Three pitchers -- Mariano Rivera of the Yankees, Jim Johnson of the Orioles and Jason Grilli of the Pirates -- have more than twice as many, with 23 apiece. Andrew Bailey, meanwhile, leads the Sox with six.

So, is that a reflection of the precarious state of the Sox closer situation, given that Joel Hanrahan is lost for the season after Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and Bailey has only one save in 22 games since being reinstated off the disabled list May 20 after missing 19 games with a strained right biceps?

In a word, no.

Bailey has had just one other chance in that stretch to save a game, which came Monday night here, when he entered in the 10th inning with the Sox ahead 8-6, gave up a home run to Jose Lobaton to open the inning, then walked in the tying run. That outing was only the seventh time Bailey has pitched since coming off the DL, although it was the fourth time in the past six games, and came the day after he'd thrown 24 pitches in a nonsave situation against the Angels.

Bailey wasn't especially sharp Sunday, either, throwing only 14 of 24 pitches for strikes; on Monday, when he walked three, it was 17 of 32. But while he blew the save, Bailey did a remarkable job of avoiding defeat, as he induced Rays slugger Evan Longoria to hit into a double play, and second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a terrific play on Sam Fuld's drag bunt to end the inning.

"Lost in that game was how good a job Bailey did," Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster said. "OK, it was rough, giving up the home run, then walking in the tying run and now you're facing Evan Longoria. A Lot of people would cash that in. All he has to do is a sacrifice fly, bloop a ball in. Instead, he gets a double play and gets out of it.

"This team is relentless, man. That's what's really cool."

It might well be that the back end of the bullpen could prove vulnerable; the Sox, after all, made the move to replace Bailey as closer last winter when they traded for Hanrahan. The jury probably will remain out until Bailey runs off a string of saves for the Sox. But the low numbers so far this season are no reflection on his effectiveness.

Overall, the Sox have converted 11 of 19 save opportunities, a 58 percent success rate.

Sox riding high after total team win

May, 25, 2013
BOSTON -- In Saturday's 7-4 win over Cleveland, the Boston Red Sox got two game-tying RBI from two different left fielders, had a fill-in third baseman get three hits and a fill-in shortstop do the same, picked starter Jon Lester off the hook with a late rally and got a shutdown performance from the bullpen, capped by Andrew Bailey's first save in more than a month.

It was the type of victory that can only help to galvanize a ballclub.

[+] EnlargeNava, Bailey
Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY SportsDaniel Nava high-fives Andrew Bailey, who earned his first save in more than a month.
"I don't know that you can pinpoint one [play] because to say that here is the most important point, you're losing sight of so many other things that took place," manager John Farrell said. "This was a very good team win and we got contributions from a lot of guys."

Jonny Gomes may be about 10th on the list of players to mention after this one, but it was his strong throw from left field that cut down a runner at home plate in the third, allowing Lester to escape a pickle. And it was Gomes who was left in to hit against a right-hander in the sixth with the bases loaded, and who lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly to center.

Farrell finally pulled Gomes in the eighth in favor of Mike Carp, a move that paid off in one pitch as Carp doubled to left to again bring in the tying run. Although the move was a no-brainer for Farrell, the result still spoke volumes to the team's preparedness, and how it can make the skipper look pretty good at times.

"He's pressed a lot of the right buttons," Dustin Pedroia said of his manager. "Put Carp in there and drive the ball. There's been some huge situations he's made the right decision and it's come out in our favor."

Carp was in an 0-for-21 dive before crushing a three-run homer in Friday's 8-1 win. Back in his bench role, he reassumed the mindset of thinking ahead and waiting for his big moment.

"We always get ready. Guys on the bench, fifth, sixth inning, we start playing with matchups, see what matchups are going to go," he said.

Carp said he went over the scouting report from Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Indians right-hander Vinnie Pestano, their setup man and the guy Carp figured to face in a big situation. The plan was to wait for a fastball out over the plate, and that's exactly what Pestano started with. Ever ready, Carp was waiting.

Pedroia followed with an RBI double and Daniel Nava got a wind-aided two-run single and just like that the Sox had broken out for four feel-good runs with contributions from all over the place. Pedro Ciriaco's double, his third hit of the game, started the rally.

In keeping with the theme was catcher David Ross, who played his first game in two weeks and went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. However, Ross helped settle Lester down after a rocky beginning, and he did his part postgame with a heavy dose of praise for his teammates.

"My confidence level is high. All these guys," he said. "We've got guys. Mike Carp coming off the bench. Pedro Ciriaco a big hit. I know that all my teammates work hard and they want to be out there and prepare and do their homework and I can go to bed at night knowing the guys in this locker room go out there and compete as hard as they can."

And when that competitive spirit comes together in the right way, you have yourself a real team win.

Bailey expected back from DL Monday

May, 19, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS -- Closer Andrew Bailey is likely to be activated from the disabled list in time for Monday's game in Chicago after making a rehab appearance at Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday night.

Bailey, who has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a strained right biceps, was scheduled to join the Red Sox in Minneapolis on Sunday, manager John Farrell said. He threw 17 pitches in an inning of work at Pawtucket on Saturday night, and Farrell said "physically, he came through it fine.

"He showed consistent velocity," Farrell said. "He'll get checked up on it, as anybody would, in a situation like this, but he came out of last night fine."

For a team that has already endured some bullpen turmoil this season, with closer Joel Hanrahan undergoing Tommy John surgery, Bailey's return will bring some stability back to Boston's bullpen.

Farrell said the team will be careful about using Bailey on back-to-back days initially, but when he is available, the Red Sox relievers will know their roles.

"To slide guys back a little bit earlier, it gives us that flexibility with Junichi (Tazawa) a little more, rather than holding him back to close out games," Farrell said. "I think just getting guys back one slot earlier in the game certainly makes us stronger and gives us added depth in the pen."

The starting pitcher for Pawtucket on Saturday night -- left-hander Franklin Morales -- was also there on a rehab assignment, but his results weren't very encouraging.

Morales, who is recovering from a pectoral strain, allowed five runs on three hits in four innings, walking three and surrendering two home runs. He will make another start for Pawtucket later this week, Farrell said, and the Red Sox will have to decide after that whether they want to make room for Morales in their rotation or their bullpen.

And while the Red Sox got outfielder Shane Victorino back on Sunday, starting him in center field to give Jacoby Ellsbury a day off, they were still without shortstop Stephen Drew, who strained his back on a headfirst slide on Friday.

"He still needs another day to get over that jarring sensation he felt," Farrell said. "We don't think it should be a prolonged situation."

Farrell said the jarring Drew felt was confined to his back, and added the Red Sox are not worried about any concussion-related symptoms with the shortstop.

Bailey throws rehab inning for PawSox

May, 18, 2013
Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey pitched one inning in a rehab outing for Pawtucket on Saturday night against Indianapolis, allowing one run and two hits (a home run to outfielder Brett Carroll and a double to catcher Tony Sanchez) while striking out two.

Manager John Farrell had said on Thursday that Bailey, who is on the disabled list with a strained right biceps, is on track to be activated Monday in Chicago.

With Joel Hanrahan facing season-ending surgery for a torn flexor muscle in his right elbow, Bailey will slide back into the closer's role, Farrell said. Bailey has been on the disabled list since May 6, retroactive to April 29.

Bailey last pitched on April 28, when he pitched a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit, against the Houston Astros. Before being hurt, Bailey had run off five saves in five chances, striking out 11 in six innings and holding opponents to a .100 batting average (2-for-20).

Sox aim for Monday return for Bailey

May, 16, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey, who had just been named the team's closer over Joel Hanrahan when he went on the disabled list with a strained right biceps, is on track to be activated Monday in Chicago, manager John Farrell said Thursday.

With Hanrahan facing season-ending surgery for a torn flexor muscle in his right elbow, Bailey will slide back into the closer's role on Monday, Farrell said. Bailey threw a simulated game here Thursday and is scheduled to make a rehab assignment Saturday for Pawtucket. Assuming that goes well, he'll rejoin the team after being on the disabled list since May 6, retroactive to April 29.

Bailey last pitched on April 28, when he pitched a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit, against the Houston Astros. Before being hurt, Bailey had run off five saves in five chances, striking out 11 in six innings and holding opponents to a .100 batting average (2-for-20).

"I watched him out here today," Farrell said. "He threw the ball very well, not only with power with his fastball but action with his secondary stuff."

Junichi Tazawa has served as closer in the absence of both Hanrahan and Bailey. Tazawa has not had any save opportunities, but he entered the ninth inning of a tie game against Toronto last Saturday and gave up what proved to be a game-winning home run by Adam Lind. He has not pitched since.

Quick hits: Bailey closer to returning

May, 14, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A few quick hits prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays:

* Reliever Andrew Bailey, who was eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday with a right biceps strain, threw a 25-pitch side session in which he was able to throw all of his pitches and came out of it “feeling very good,” according to manager John Farrell. Farrell said that Bailey will pitch a simulated game here Thursday and be re-evaluated at that time, with a decision made then as to whether to send him out for one appearance on a brief rehab assignment.

“To take it for a test run I think would be helpful," Farrell said.

* Outfielder Shane Victorino was all smiles Tuesday and ready to go, Farrell said, despite hitting the bullpen wall at full speed Sunday. Asked how Victorino wasn’t hurt given the force of the impact, Farrell said: “I don’t know. I can’t run that fast.

“It looked ugly at the time, but every test, every image we put him through, he’s 100 percent," Farrell said. “No fractures, injuries of any kind."

* Catcher David Ross remained back in Boston undergoing further tests after being placed on the seven-day disabled list for concussive symptoms.

* Ryan Lavarnway is drawing the start at catcher Tuesday night, Farrell said, against Rays left-hander Matt Moore. “He’s going to be called upon to produce," Farrell said, noting that Lavarnway has been hitting well of late (10 for 30, .333, eight RBIs in his last eight games for Pawtucket).

Lavarnway was here for three days in April, but did not play. He batted .157 in 46 games for the Sox last season, going hitless in his last 13 at-bats.

* Franklin Morales made a rehab start for Pawtucket on Monday night, giving up a run on two hits, striking out four and walking none in three innings at Charlotte. Morales, who is recovering from a strained left pectoral muscle, threw 48 pitches. The only run he allowed came on a home run by Josh Phegley. Morales has made three rehab appearances, spanning eight innings, for Class A Greenville, Class AA Portland and Class AAA Pawtucket, and allowed just one run.

* Dustin Pedroia comes into Tuesday’s game with multiple hits in each of his last five games. Pedroia has done so six times in his career; he has never had six multi-hit games in a row. Which leads us to an obligatory Jerry Remy reference: Pedroia is the first Red Sox second baseman to have 17 multi-hit games in his team’s first 38 games since Remy in 1979. Only Alex Gordon of the Royals has more multi-hit games this season.

* The Red Sox come into Tuesday night’s game after going 0-for-19 with runners in scoring position in their last two game, and 3-for-36 in last weekend’s series against the Jays. Farrell said he would be more concerned if the club was not putting runners in scoring position.

Surgery for Hanrahan; long toss for Bailey

May, 11, 2013
BOSTON -- The news Saturday morning that one-time Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan was going to undergo season-ending surgery on a torn flexor tendon was not a complete surprise.

However, it helped to close one chapter in the ever-changing Sox bullpen, and allowed most to turn their full attention to what's left. That begins with Andrew Bailey, who is on the disabled list with a biceps strain.

Manager John Farrell said Bailey was expected to throw from 120 feet Saturday and then get out to 150 feet in the coming days. There is a chance Bailey could be back on the mound next week, possibly throwing in simulated games.

Bailey, who could slide back into the closer role now occupied by Junichi Tazawa, has indicated he will not be ready to come off the DL when eligible Tuesday. Farrell did not know yet if Bailey would require a rehab stint in the minors.

As for the condition of the bullpen as a whole, Farrell was quick to express confidence in the patchwork crew: "Healthy. Ready to go."

In other pregame news:

* Farrell confirmed that Will Middlebrooks is going to battle rib issues for some time, but indicated that playing the young third baseman on an everyday basis is not an issue.

"He feels it. It doesn't hinder him in any way," Farrell said. "Like I said, he's finding his way. The fact that there's some discomfort in the ribs, we're not putting him in harm's way. That's been cleared through the medical staff."

Middlebrooks was hurt in a collision with catcher David Ross on Tuesday. He does not have any broken ribs but there is bruising for Middlebrooks, who entered Saturday hitting just .206. Farrell said he sees the growth process as Middlebrooks endures some of his first major roadblocks as a professional.

"There was a 3-4 game stretch where defensively things weren't as sharp as the remainder of the year so far," Farrell added. "I think given the production at the plate he's been able to separate that and play very well defensively with the exception of a couple of games. I think that's the sign of a mature player and at the same time he's spent countless hours with [third base coach Brian Butterfield] just getting his footwork more consistent, buy him some time to get that arm action.

"It's his first full season. He's kinda finding his way."

* Jonny Gomes is back in the lineup after two days on the bench following his five-RBI performance against Minnesota on Wednesday. Farrell stops short of labeling Gomes a strict platoon player, but understands that he is best served against the occasional left-hander and has admired how Gomes has found ways to contribute in limited play.

* A day game after a night game seemed to be a good time for Farrell to give struggling first baseman Mike Napoli a rest. The skipper had conversations about that following Friday's game, but elected to stick with Napoli against Toronto lefty Mark Buehrle.

"Mike has been shown to get into really strong streaks, and there's been others times where we've got to ride that with him," Farrell said.

Expect Farrell to take advantage of an early departure after a day game Sunday and a day off Monday to work in some rest for Napoli. That may include sitting him in the opener of the upcoming series in Tampa Bay, with its unforgiving turf. That would give Napoli two full days and the night of a third to take it easy.

"What he's going through is not something new to him, and yet with tomorrow being a day game and Monday being an off day we're trying to find ways to get back-to-back days off," Farrell said . "We're in a pretty good stretch. There's not an off day until June 3rd, the next one, so we've got to balance some things out going forward."

Since opening May with two monster home runs in Toronto, Napoli is 6-for-34 (.176) with no homers in nine games.