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Andrew Bailey on bullpen role: ‘I don’t give a [expletive], frankly’

08.04.12 at 7:46 pm ET
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Andrew Bailey will make his third rehab appearance on Sunday in Portland. (AP)

Andrew Bailey is set to make a rehab appearance on Sunday. But when it comes time for Bailey to finally join the big-league club, will he replace Alfredo Aceves as the team’s closer?

“I don’t give a [expletive], frankly. I just want to play and get to the playoffs,” Bailey said. “Whatever role they see fit, that’s what I’m going to do. If it’s setting up, if it’s doing whatever, that’s fine by me and we’ll address it next spring.”

The Red Sox bullpen already leads the American League in holds. Adding Bailey, who was the key return in the trade that sent Josh Reddick to the Athletics, will likely only make the team’s bullpen better.

“[Aceves] and the whole bullpen has been doing great this whole year and whatever role they see fit, that’s what I’m going to do,” Bailey said. “If it is setting up or if it is doing whatever that is fine by me and we will address it next spring.”

In 50 appearances so far this season, Aceves has 22 saves with a 3.83 ERA. Bailey posted slightly better numbers last season with the Athletics, recording 24 saves with a 3.24 ERA in 42 appearances.

Bailey, who made two scoreless one-inning appearances in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League before returning to Boston from Fort Myers, said he feels good now and is ready to rejoin the team after having thumb surgery in April. He struck out four in his two innings of work, permitting two hits. He featured his fastball while also mixing in both cutters and curveballs, and the right-hander detected progress in his off-speed pitches from his first appearance to his second.

“I feel like I’m throwing good,” Bailey said. “It’s nice to be on the mound and be able to not worry about health issues and that’s the key. So now it’s get back to baseball and getting back here and helping the team win. One step at a time.

“I’m not a guy that is going to blow your doors off with 96-97. I’m touching 93 and in a GCL game I feel that’s pretty good. I think how I feel right now is more important than the velocity, but the fact that the velocity is there too is good as well.”

As for how much the reliever can help the team before the end of the season, Bailey said he is going to do as much as he can in the amount of time he has. Whereas he wanted to get eight to nine innings of work during spring training in preparation for the regular season, the 27-year-old suggests that he is willing to compress that timetable while on a minor league rehab assignment that will have him pitching for Double-A Portland on Sunday.

“Let’s face it, I’m getting ready for a month season – a month and a half – and hopefully playoffs,” Bailey said. “That’s the goal is to be at the playoffs.”

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