After pitching in two games in the Gulf Coast League and in a single contest in Double-A Portland, Andrew Bailey's rehab assignment is making it's way to Triple-A Pawtucket -- one stop from his return to the majors. Thumb surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament, necessary after a collision with Alex Presley of the Pirates in late spring training, has caused Bailey to miss the entire Red Sox season to this point. The bullpen has done well despite this, but it will be even better with its top reliever in tow.
Bailey's rehab is going to be a little different in Pawtucket, as he's essentially there to find out if his arm is ready for the majors once more. He'll pitch on both Wednesday and Thursday, giving him five appearances on a rehab assignment where Bailey felt he would only need six or seven games to be ready. If all goes well, he'll be back in Boston before the mid-August estimate that's hung over him for much of the season.
Bailey is using his four-seam fastball, cutter, and curve on this rehab assignment, so the Red Sox are letting him unleash the full arsenal, another sign that he's likely close to being back for good. Bailey has averaged 94.6 miles per hour on his four-seamer in the past, and according to the radar on Sunday, was at 94 mph with his fastball in his third rehab appearance.
Bailey is on the record saying he "doesn't give a [expletive]" about what his role is when his rehab is over, but instead simply wants to pitch in a major-league bullpen. Regardless of whether he closes or sets up, he's going to be a valuable piece the rest of the way, as the Red Sox attempt to grab one of the two wild cards.