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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Andrew Bailey role is boon for Red Sox batters

Another run for the Sox -- thanks in part to Bailey.

The Red Sox broke out for 11 runs on a season-high 20 hits last night, including many balls slammed to the furthest regions of Fenway Park. None of it was much of a surprise to fans who arrived early for the ballgame.

Those who were in their seats for batting practice were treated to an awesome display of power as Sox batters slammed shot after shot off and over the Green Monster. Even Jacoby Ellsbury, who has hit less home runs (five) in the past two seasons combined than he did in September of 2011, was making like Mark McGwire in the '99 Home Run Derby.

The pre-game crowd likely paid little attention to the mustached and bespectacled pitcher who was serving up the B.P. meatballs to Jacoby and Co. One perceptive media member, however, recognized the hurler's delivery and realized the Tom Selleck wannabee was actually Andrew Bailey in disguise. 
Like Bobby V., Bailey couldn't stay hidden long.

Bailey has temporarily lost his role of Red Sox closer, but team management has apparently found a new job for the former All-Star that they believe could most help the team: batting practice pitcher.

The right-hander disappeared before he could be questioned, but when Boston manager John Farrell was asked about the incident after the game, he admitted that the mystery guy on the mound was indeed the same guy who had a 15.75 ERA in his last five appearances -- with just two saves in five chances and a pair of ninth-inning homers.

"Andrew has been getting the ball over plate too often, and we just can't afford to have that happening in the ninth inning of close ballgames,"explained Farrell. "Before the game gets started, well, that's another story. If he can get them over the plate with consistency during batting practice, it gives us a chance to get some real good swings in."

No more Bailey blown saves for a while.

Farrell said Bailey might still be called upon to pitch in games, but with Koji Uehara currently in the closer's role and the rest of the relief corps fairly stabilized, Bailey's best chance at regular action might be well before the National Anthem.

According to team historian Dick Bresciani, this is not the first time the Red Sox have transitioned an active pitcher into the BP role. Calvin "Deer in the Headlights" Schiraldi spent a summer grooving balls for Dwight Evans and Wade Boggs in 1987, and John "Way Back" Wasdin lived up to his nickname on a daily basis in 2000. Carl Everett credited Wasdin for the best first half of his career that summer, but he slumped after Wasdin's late July trade to Colorado.

This one is going WAYYYYYY back.

Although Farrell says it's unclear how long Bailey will remain a pre-game regular, guys like Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Daniel Nava, and Jose Iglesias (three hits apiece tonight) hope it will be a while.

Fenway Fiction

1 comment:

  1. I've been writing Red Sox games for 17 years but this is the first I've heard that the reason Carl Everett slumped so bad at the end of 2000 is John Wasdin was no longer throwing him BP. My hat's off to you for that nugget, I salute you!