With any luck, this is the final image of Bailey in an A's uniform the site will ever need. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
According to WEEI.com's Alex Speier, reliever Andrew Bailey will end his rehab assignment and join the Red Sox in Baltimore on Tuesday. This is all barring a setback, of course, but all indications are that he's ready to finally put on a Red Sox uniform in a game that matters.
Bailey has thrown 6-1/3 rehab innings in six appearances, striking out 10 while walking just one batter out of the 26 he faced. After stopping in the Gulf Coast, Eastern, and International leagues, Bailey will finally join the one that he was acquired for. What his role will be, though, is a bit more up in the air.
Bailey doesn't care if he closes or sets up, as he's on the record as just wanting to get to Boston in order to pitch innings that matter. Alfredo Aceves has been a solid closer in Bailey's absence, but between Aceves' ability to go multiple innings, and Bailey's sheer dominance in his three-year major-league career, the job should be Bailey's now that he's back. Maybe not as soon as Tuesday, but in the long run, at least.
The closer and his three arbitration years were acquired in an off-season deal with the Athletics that also sent Ryan Sweeney to Boston, and Josh Reddick along with mid-level prospects to Oakland. Bailey has missed the entire season due to surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb, though, an injury sustained during a collision with the Pirates' Alex Presley. He has some catching up to do, but if his career 2.07 ERA and 3.6 K/BB have anything to say about it, that likely won't take very long.