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You might want to pay attention to how Andrew Bailey grips a baseball

05.16.12 at 9:05 pm ET
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Andrew Bailey's thumb will be tested due to the way he grips a baseball. (AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – With news coming down that Andrew Bailey has been cleared to throw next week, one thing should be noted: how the reliever throws a baseball.

As it turns out, Bailey grips a baseball differently than any other pitcher on the Red Sox, tucking his right thumb underneath the ball instead of wrapping it around the object.

Remarkably, the pitcher didn’t even realize he held the ball differently until the Red Sox medical staff started examining all potential causes for the injury of his ulnar collateral ligament.

It was a revelation Bailey hadn’t uncovered in all his years of playing baseball.

“One of our trainers, Mike Reinold, said, ‘How do you grip a baseball?’ I showed him and then I went around the clubhouse and figured out I was the only who does it,” Bailey said during a recent homestand.

“It’s just one of those weird things where we’re looking at all the evidence, I guess.”

Bailey makes it clear that he does not believe the stress put on his ligament due to the grip was the cause for his surgery. But because of the peculiarity of the execution, and what lies ahead for the closer, it is worth at least making note of.

“I’ve always thrown a baseball that way, thumb tucked in a little differently,” he said. “It’s just what’s comfortable to me. Obviously, that’s not the reason my thumb has been bothering me. It’s just one of those weird things. Every guy’s mechanics are different so they’re not going to hold the ball the same way. For me that’s what is comfortable. A little collision just put it over the edge.

“Throughout the course of my life you’re working on pitches in sides and stuff, working on grips, and that’s what has always been comfortable for me. To say it puts stress on the UCL, I don’t know. I guess it’s abnormal.”

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