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Red Sox notes: Andrew Bailey takes a step forward, uncertain outlook for David Ross, Shane Victorino is intact

05.14.13 at 7:17 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey took a significant step forward in his return from a sore right biceps, throwing a 25-pitch bullpen in which he used his full array of pitches. It was his first session throwing off a mound (rather than on flat ground) since he landed on the DL on May 6.

The right-hander suggested that physical concerns about the injury that resulted in a DL stint are now behind him, and that he is simply focused on getting ready to pitch in big league games.

“I felt good the last few days, and the other day after I long tossed and threw off flat ground I knew we were kind of over the hump,” said Bailey. “Now it’s just getting back to a baseball mode.”

Barring a setback, Bailey will pitch a simulated game against some Sox hitters on Thursday. The team will use that appearance to gauge whether he’s ready to be activated or if he’ll need to pitch a game on a minor league rehab assignment.

“You don’t want to go out there with the game on the line and not be sharp because you’re just coming off an injury and you end up costing the team a game. Obviously being baseball sharp is just as important as being healthy. I think depending on how Thursday goes and how I feel, we’ll make that decision,” said Bailey, who suggested he’d need no more than one rehab appearance in the minors, if that. “Obviously we still got a couple days to go, right now I feel great and I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Manager John Farrell seconded Bailey’s positive impressions of his bullpen session, though he noted that there could be value in a rehab appearance.

“It’€™s going to be somewhat sterile here at 2:30 in the afternoon on Thursday. To take it for a test run, I would think [a rehab assignment] would be helpful and to answer any questions that Andrew might have when he steps on with the adrenaline within a given game,” said Farrell. “The one thing that he’€™s been great about in this situation is giving the feedback on how he feels and having input into the overall plan going forward and so far it’€™s been positive and he’€™s responded to every progressive step favorably.’€

For his part, Bailey suggested that the bigger picture is promising — chiefly, that even though he had to miss two-plus weeks, he expects to look like the same pitcher who was so dominant (1.46 ERA, 20 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings) prior to his injury.

“I’ve said it a number of times — they brought me over here to do a job last year and I missed a hell of a lot of time. A couple days already obviously — 15-day DL, that sucks — this year, but the way I was throwing the ball, I’m confident I can get back to that and do that for the remainder of the season,” said Bailey. “I think it’s especially important now, with Joel [Hanrahan] gone, I get back and do my thing.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

– Catcher David Ross, who went on the seven-day concussion DL on Sunday, experienced some worsening of symptoms on Monday. He remains in Boston and it remains uncertain at this point whether he’ll be ready for activation when eligible.

“We’re still taking this very much day to day. He’ll get re-examined in Boston over the next couple of days before rejoining us in Minnesota,” said Farrell. “There’s no template on these, when the symptoms start to progress. Yesterday was a tougher day for him with some of those symptoms, so we’ve got to work off him in this. He’ll be fully evaluated in Boston. Where we go from there will be dependent upon the diagnosis and the recommendations of the doctors there.”

– Outfielder Shane Victorino is back in the lineup on Tuesday, two days after being removed from the game and sent to the hospital after crashing at full speed  into the right field wall in front of the visitor’s bullpen.

“There was a scary crash,” Victorino said. “I wouldn’t say I won the battle [but] body feels good. Not trying to do that again, but just trying to make the play. But I feel good physically and ready to go tonight.”

– Left-hander Felix Doubront threw an extra bullpen session on Tuesday in advance of his next start. Farrell said that the team wanted him to work on stride direction so that he wouldn’t have to throw across his body — something that the team hopes can help restore some of the velocity and finish on his pitches that’s been missing.

“We felt like there are times when he starts to drive to home plate, he can be a little bit off-line and I think that’€™s affected some of the overall consistency with location to his stuff,” said Farrell. “That’€™s what’€™s been worked on with the multiple bullpens that he and [pitching coach Juan Nieves] have gone through.”

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