When off-season acquisition Joel Hanrahan went down for the season with Tommy John surgery in May, it appeared as if things couldn’t get uglier in the Boston Red Sox bullpen. On Friday, they got more negative news, and it came in the form of a likely season-ending injury to former closer Andrew Bailey.
Bailey was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday, and Boston manager John Farrell was quoted as saying that Bailey had “significant damage” to his shoulder (according to ESPN). The official diagnosis is an injury to the labrum, a torn capsule in his shoulder, and another strained tendon, but the reality is that Bailey is very likely out for the season. The team has stopped short of announcing his necessary surgery, as they are in search of other options, but the only long-term answer is a shut-down surgery.
This is yet another blow to a Boston bullpen that has been the team’s weak link. Bailey is perpetually injured, going back to his days as the Oakland A’s closer, but he even struggled a bit on the mound this year. Before he went down, the 29-year-old right hander had a less-than-impressive 3.77 ERA, but his 12.24 K/9 is the type of thing that managers dream of in a closer. However, he has pitched in only 206 games over a 5-year period, and the latest injury reminds us all of his fragility.
Currently, Boston is using Koji Uehara in the closer role, and he’s been absolutely dominant (as usual). However, he can’t be used on back-to-back days due to his throwing regiment and age, and outside of Junichi Tazawa, the Sox bullpen is pretty much a mess. The team would have been on the lookout for help on the back-end regardless of Bailey’s status, but now, the urgency has been ratcheted up a few notches in Boston.