Andrew Bailey, Boston's anticipated closer heading into the season, may be headed for surgery, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
Bailey, who was acquired in a Dec. 29 trade from the Oakland Athletics, recently injured his right thumb and is being told he will need surgery to repair the damage, according to major league sources.
Bailey is expected to visit Dr. Thomas Graham, a highly respected hand specialist, in Cleveland on Tuesday for a second opinion on the thumb.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine expressed concern over the potential loss of Bailey earlier on Monday.
"When a player is injured, I always am very concerned and always try to make alternative plans," Valentine said. "When guys are hurt, they're hurt, and he couldn't pitch for a couple of days, you know? I'm not sure how long."
Bailey's loss for any significant period of time would force the Red Sox to lean more heavily on another recent addition in Mark Melancon or even bullpen staple Alfredo Aceves.
There is always the possibility that the second opinion clears Bailey from any significant surgery. But if the surgery is necessary, the Red Sox may yet again be forced to find another arm to help stabilize their already questionable bullpen.