BOSTON -- Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey said he is investigating alternatives to season-ending shoulder surgery that he estimates would sideline him for 12 months, conceding that full healing will come only with an operation.
"The only way to fix this is surgery -- 100 percent fix it," Bailey said while meeting with reporters in the Red Sox dugout Friday afternoon. "This isn't going to heal on its own.''
The Red Sox announced Friday that Bailey had been placed on the 15-day disabled list with what manager John Farrell described as "significant damage" to Bailey's right shoulder. Bailey said he has a torn capsule in his shoulder, damage to his labrum and a strained "subscap" (subscapularis tendon, which is connected to the strongest of the four muscles that comprise the rotator cuff). He underwent an MRI upon the team's return in Boston, then went to New York to see Mets team physician Dr. David Altchek on Tuesday.
Bailey, 3-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 28 2/3 innings, would be the fourth reliever the Red Sox have lost to extended time this season. Closer Joel Hanrahan underwent season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery in early May, and left-handed setup man Andrew Miller underwent season-ending surgery for a torn ligament in his left foot. In addition, setup man Daniel Bard, who made two appearances for the Red Sox in April, is now rehabbing in Fort Myers, Fla., and hasn't pitched since being shut down in mid-May in Double-A Portland, where he was unable to rediscover the form that made him one of the game's top relievers as recently as the 2011 season.
To take Bailey's place on the roster, the Red Sox recalled reliever Jose De La Torre from Pawtucket. Farrell said rookie Brandon Workman, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Sunday in Oakland, also would be available Friday night, along with rookie left-hander Drake Britton, who was promoted from Pawtucket on Sunday but has yet to pitch.
The Red Sox also signed former major leaguers Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon to minor league contracts and assigned them to Pawtucket. The 41-year-old Contreras had been pitching for Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, but had an out in his contract and obtained his release from the Pirates prior to signing with the Red Sox. In his last 10 appearances in Indianapolis, he had a 2-0 record and 0.93 ERA, striking out 17 and walking five.
Lyon, 33, pitched for the Red Sox in 2003. He was released last week by the Mets, for whom he had a 2-2 record and 4.98 ERA in 34 innings.
"It's tough," general manager Ben Cherington said of Bailey's injury. "Tough for him more than anything. I know he was feeling progressively better the last couple of weeks. Looked better, was pitching well. We were counting on him to be a big part of the pen.
"We still got a little more information to gather, he may get another opinion, but he's going to be down for some time. The guys have to step up, and as far as how it affects us, we're going to continue to give some younger pitchers a chance and see what they can do. As I said when Miller went down, when a guy goes down, you have to replace him somehow, and I hope that that's guys that are here internally. We've got to keep an open mind and continue to do that over the course of the next couple of days."
The Red Sox acted quickly after losing Miller to injury, acquiring left-hander Matt Thornton from the White Sox for outfield prospect Brandon Jacobs.
"It does make it more challenging but it doesn't change the job," Cherington said of acquiring bullpen help. "We've got to figure out who's pitching in what roles, and some new guys are going to get a chance. We've got a lot of confidence in those guys. At the same time, we'll continue to work the phone, see if there are ways to help the team from outside the organization.
"Those things are hard to predict. It takes finding the right match, and we've got a lot of good things going on this team. We're still very confident in the guys that we have in the pen now, and like I said, we'll be giving some of the younger guys a chance to show us what they've got."
Asked to assess the market before the July 31 trading deadline, Cherington said: "We kind of dipped into it once already with the Thornton deal, so we've had a number of conversations. There's guys that will move I'm sure, there's guys that will be available. There's a trickle of trades before, then it quiets down and picks up again and really picks up at the end of the month, so I would expect, as in most years, there will be some relievers moved by the end of July. We'll stay in contact."
Bailey said he felt something on a 1-and-2 pitch to Jed Lowrie in the eighth inning last Friday night in Oakland. He struck out Lowrie, remained in the game and struck out Yoenis Cespedes, winner of Monday's All-Star Home Run Derby, but said his shoulder didn't feel right. Bailey had missed 19 games in May with what was diagnosed as a right biceps strain. He also lost the closer's job to Koji Uehara after coming back and giving up five home runs in a span of five appearances.
"I feel like it's been building for awhile," he said, although he added that MRIs taken earlier did not show anything "substantial."
"In my mind, I feel like it's been building, and I think the doctors feel that as well," he said. "I've been grinding through a lot of things, working every day with trainers and doctors trying to get to pitch, and it just went."
Bailey said he might seek additional medical opinions, and that he intended to reach out to big league pitchers John Danks and Chris Young, who have had similar injuries. "Surgery is on the table, obviously," Bailey said. "I think as a player you dream of pitching in a race, the playoffs, World Series. That's what I want to do. But ultimately you've got be healthy to do that, so I'll try to get as much information as possible."