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Ben Cherington talks Andrew Bailey, Josh Beckett

04.03.12 at 4:08 pm ET
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Ben Cherington gave the latest on injuries to Andrew Bailey and Josh Beckett Tuesday. (AP)

Talking to reporters prior to the Red Sox’ final exhibition game in Washington, D.C., general manager Ben Cherington spoke to the media regarding updates on both Andrew Bailey and Josh Beckett, whom both were being examined for thumb ailments in Cleveland on Tuesday.

On Bailey: “We’re proceeding as if he’s not going to be on the roster for Opening Day. Until we get a little more information I don’t want to speculate on what may or may not happen. It’s clear he has an injury, we’re still trying to figure out the best way to deal with it.’’

“Bailey’s injury is different (than Beckett’s) in that we believe it is more of an acute injury we think he suffered when he was in a collision at Bradenton when he covered first and collided with Alex Presley and he fell. At the time he didn’t think anything of it but then started to experience some soreness shortly after that and then went back and looked at the video and he definitely landed on his thumb so he’s never had any thumb soreness before that so we don’t know for sure but it seems possible that’s what did it. Anytime you have more of an acute injury, we have to get to the bottom of how bad it is and whether it can be managed conservatively or not.”

Regarding surgery: “Don’t think it would happen today. If the procedure’s necessary, I think it would happen soon but we’re not at that point yet.’’

On potential closer candidates: “We’ve got a number of guys who have done it a little bit and think they can and are capable of doing it. Ultimately that’s up to Bobby [Valentine] who he brings in in the ninth inning. there are a number of guys out there who have some saves, have pitched late in games and maybe it’s more than one guy, that’s something that Bobby will decide and the game will dictate.

“We’re never comfortable with the depth we have, this is an opportunity for some guys to step up and maybe pitch in a different role than they would have before. I think when you lose one guy to the bullpen no matter who it is, no matter what the role is, there is a little bit of a ripple effect on other guys’ role. This is an opportunity for guys to step, maybe do a little more than in the past and then we’ve got to continue to look for protection just as we would in any season. As you guys know, we’re going to use 20,. 25 pitchers, not 12, we’ll keep doing that. Then we’ve got guys who are hopefully can be factors at some point early in the season – Andrew Miller and Rich Hill – both in Fort Myers and who both should go out on rehab assignments pretty soon. We’ve just got to keep looking and give the guys here every chance to prove they can do it.”

On Daniel Bard’s role: “No, the decision was made and he’s going to pitch Game 5 in Toronto and we’re committed to him as a starter right now.”

On Beckett: “Josh has had some soreness off and on this spring that he’s pitched through. We took the opportunity, the time between his last outing to the extended side he threw, the 100 pitch side in Fort Myers to let him gather as much information as possible so that we could help him manage it the best possible. He’s not that concerned about it, we expect him to pitch Game 2. It’s mostly information gathering at this point.

“You know that was one of those things that is common with pitchers, they might feel a little something, guys feel stuff all the time and he didn’t report it right away. I think he felt like it was just one of those things you get in spring training, you’re just a little sore and it goes away and you keep pitching through it. Over a period of days it kept nagging at him and it wasn’t getting better – I can’t remember the exact date he reported it. We took him out of his last outing and kind of stepped up our efforts to get it checked out and get to the bottom of it. It is what it is. We’ll know more by the end of the day.’’

“He’s had it off and on this spring. There may have been a time or two in the past where it’s been bugging him. This isn’t atypical for a pitcher or any player, you have something that crops up from time to time and has to be managed, and he’s managing it.

“It’s not tendinitis. You can kind of make a comparison to a pitcher’s shoulder or elbow, most major-league pitchers have changes in their shoulder or elbow that they pitch through. He’s got some changes in his thumb but it’s something he’s been able to pitch through and he’s planning to pitch through and pitching with, not that concerned with.

On if that impacts his grip: “You’d have to ask him. Josh has evolved as a pitcher. He was a different pitcher in 2011 than he was in 2007, we all saw that. He’s always making adjustments out there. He threw his curveball plenty this spring, threw it effectively, I don’t think there’s any one pitch he’s not going to use. He’s evolved as a pitcher but he’s not eliminating anything.’’

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