During that span, Breslow watched Bailey's transformation from rising prospect to All-Star closer. Along the way, Bailey dealt with a string of elbow and forearm injuries that restricted him to 90 combined innings over the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
"But he was as dominant a closer in Oakland as there was in this league, and I don't think he's a guy to get caught up in the stage," Breslow said.
Through it all, Breslow noticed that Bailey, his close friend, never unraveled. Breslow said that's what will help his former teammate rebound from the thumb injury that's kept him from the big league roster all season long.
"It seems like maybe he has a target on his back," Breslow said of Bailey's injury-prone history. "But at the same time, there's a guy that can deal with it, who can approach things very practically and say, 'You know what, this is another stumbling block, and I'll get through this like all the other injuries that I've gotten, and we'll turn the page on it."
Breslow has witnessed Bailey at his best, when he converted 26 saves a rookie closer in 2009. The performance earned Bailey an All-Star nod and American League Rookie of the Year honors.
Even in the obscurity of Oakland, Breslow took note of Bailey's poise in clutch situations. As the platform becomes bigger in Boston, Breslow thinks that Bailey — when he returns — will shine even more.
"He was always a guy whose performance rose," Bailey said. "In Oakland, we didn't have the most meaningful of games, but you know some of the bigger series that we had — like against San Francisco — that's when he was always at his best. I think being able to get involved on this stage is going to bring out the best in him.
"He's never been a guy to shy away from the competition. He feeds off the energy and the pressure situation."
Clearly, Breslow is a believer in Bailey.