FORT MYERS, Fla. –– It took an unconventional way to discover the pain. When Andrew Bailey squeezed a shampoo bottle last week, the Red Sox closer sensed soreness in his thumb.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and pitching coach Bob McClure confirmed the prognosis about Bailey and his thumb injury. The pair doesn’t have all the details, but have a theory on how Bailey suffered the setback.
“Everything I've been searching my mind through — you know, he had that collision at first base [in Bradenton],” Valentine said of the spring training game on Mar. 21. “The only thing I can think of is he went down after the collision and with the adrenaline didn't even realize anything happened. But I don't know. I asked everyone if they saw anything, I asked the weight room and he doesn't have anything.”
That thumb injury will possibly force the team to place Bailey on the disabled list to start the season. Bailey –– who was tapped to replace Jonathan Papelbon –– has left the team and is en route to Boston, where he’ll be further examined.
But the first hint of soreness occurred in the shower.
“A couple days [after the collision], he was squeezing some shampoo, and said ‘Man my thumb is sore,’” McClure said, recalling Bailey’s explanation. "You have stuff that's sore all the time. It's like, 'Well, you know, big deal. It'll go away.' It just didn't go away."
Valentine wasn’t overly concerned with the prognosis. He pinpointed Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melancon as potential options to close. McClure also agreed that Vicente Padilla could contribute since he brings previous closing experience.
“I think Vicente is another guy, he’s not quite as versatile as Aceves, but he’s along those lines,” McClure said. “He’s a valuable guy with experience and with an edge to him.”
The uncertainty in the bullpen will delay Valentine’s decision on the final 25-man roster. He said he could make the decision as late as the team’s exhibition game against Washington on April 3.