Bailey injury latest blow to Sox bullpen

July, 19, 2013
7/19/13
7:10
PM ET


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, but conceded 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 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 his 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 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 Sox in April, is now rehabbing in Fort Myers and hasn’t been shut down
since after being shut down in mid-May in Double-A Portland, where he was unable to rediscover the form that had 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 that rookie Brandon Workman, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Sunday in Oakland, also would be available in the pen Friday night, along with rookie left-hander Drake Britton, who was promoted from Pawtucket Sunday but has yet to pitch.

The 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 Sox. In his last 10 appearances in Indianapolis, he had a 2-0 record and 0.93 ERA, striking out 17 and walking 5.

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,’’ 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 less than two weeks before the July 31 trading deadline, Chetrington said:

“We kind of dipped into it once already with the Thornton deal so we’ve had a number of conversations. There are guys that will move I’m sure, there are guys that will be available. 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 he made 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 it didn’t feel right.
Bailey had missed 19 games in May with what was diagnosed as a right biceps strains.
“I feel like it’s been building for awhile,’’ he said, though 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 may seek additional medical opinions, and also said 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.’’

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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