Sox Closer Andrew Bailey has Thumb Examined in Cleveland

Red Sox closer Bailey out 'a while' with thumb woe

By JOSEPH WHITE
AP Sports Writer
      WASHINGTON (AP) – The fortunes of the Boston Red Sox pitching
staff took a detour Tuesday through Cleveland, where ace Josh
Beckett and closer Andrew Bailey were both having second opinions
on thumb injuries.

      Beckett is expected to OK, while Bailey could miss much of the
season.

      “The good news for us is that their situations don't seem to be
the same,” manager Bobby Valentine said before Boston wrapped up
its spring training schedule against the Washington Nationals.
“The bad news for us is that their situations aren't the same. One
seems to be a problem, and one seems not to be so.”

      Valentine said he thinks the right-handed Bailey will be out “a
while” with a right thumb injury. Asked if that meant days, weeks
or months, the manager said: “possibly all of the above.”

      Beckett also has a bothersome right thumb, but Valentine said he
“totally” expects the right-hander to start as scheduled at
Detroit on Saturday in Boston's second game of the season.
      The nature of Bailey's injury is still a bit of a mystery.
Valentine initially said it began bothering the closer during a
game against Pittsburgh on March 21, but the manager wasn't aware
of it until Friday. Bailey traveled to Boston on Monday to have it
checked out before going to Cleveland to meet with Dr. Thomas
Graham.

      Asked how the injury occurred, Valentine said: “I'm not sure. I
don't think we're going to find out. When I talked to him before he
left he was very, he was unknowing. He felt a little something.
There really wasn't a defining moment, in the last conversation I
had with him.”

      Bailey was acquired in a December trade with Oakland to replace
Jonathan Papelbon, who left for Philadelphia in the offseason.
Bailey was also sidelined at the start of spring training when he
strained a lat during the vertical leap portion of his entrance
physical.

      He pitched six innings in six Grapefruit League games this
spring, with an 0-1 record and a 4.50 ERA.

      Bailey also missed time with injuries each of the last two
seasons. He began last year on the disabled list with the Athletics
because of a strained right forearm, and in 2010 was sidelined with
a right intercostal strain and later had right elbow surgery.

      His latest injury has Valentine going to Plan B for a closer.
Candidates include Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melancon.

      “I'd like to think of it as we'll have a plan where there'll be
a person that we'll have designated for that role with others who
can do it when he's not available,” Valentine said, “if it all
falls in line perfectly.”

      Valentine indicated Beckett's visit with Graham was more of a
precaution. Beckett had the thumb examined in Texas on Monday
before going to Cleveland.