BOSTON (CBS) – Injured Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey made his first rehab appearance Sunday, as he makes his final steps in returning from right thumb surgery.
Bailey pitched a scoreless inning for Double-A Portland, allowing three hits while striking out two.
The right-hander took the mound in the seventh inning, throwing 16 of his 23 pitches for strikes in the SeaDogs 11-2 win over the Erie SeaWolves.
“Everything felt great; healthy,” Bailey said after the game. “It’s great to be in games where guys are competing and in front of fans, that kind of atmosphere. It was nice to get out in a ballgame that means something.”
“Not being able to perform is frustrating, but I know that I’m healthy now and there is still season left,” he said. “The whole season isn’t lost and all I can do is go out there and perform my best, help this team win ballgames and get to the playoffs.”
Bailey said when he returns to Boston, which will likely happen within the next couple weeks, he doesn’t expect to take the closer role from Alfredo Aceves.
“I don’t really care; it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Those guys have been doing their thing all year long and I don’t think I’m owed anything. Just because I was the closer in Oakland doesn’t mean I’m the closer here. It’s not a given. I know I have to go out and perform in whatever role I pitch in, and as long as we’re winning I’m happy.”
Bailey On Closing When He Returns:
Injured starter Daisuke Matsuzaka also made a rehab appearance on Sunday for Triple-A Pawtucket.
Matsuzaka, who is on the DL with a strained trapezius muscle, surrendered four runs (one earned) while striking out three and walking one over three innings of work against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Matsuzaka needed 75 pitches to get through his three innings as the PawSox won 6-5.