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Andrew Bailey contemplating season-ending surgery, hopes to return to Red Sox

07.19.13 at 8:24 pm ET
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Andrew Bailey went on the DL Friday with a torn capsule in his shoulder, as well as a torn labrum and a sub-scapularis strain. Although Bailey was told, after consulting with both Dr. Peter Asnis of the Red Sox and two doctors in New York, that surgery would be required to fix those problems fully, Bailey said he’s considering the advice he’s gotten from doctors and determining whether or not rehabbing the shoulder will be possible in the short term. However, even the rehab could easily keep him out for the rest of the year, something that will weigh into his decision on how to proceed.

Some noteworthy aspects of Bailey’s lengthy media session to discuss his injuries and prognosis:

– The recovery period for the necessary surgery would be around 12 months, Bailey said. For that reason, and because the Sox have a strong chance of playing meaningful games down the stretch, he is considering rehab as an option.

“Surgery’s on the table, obviously,” Bailey said. “I think as a player, you dream of pitching in a pennant race and in the playoffs, and the World Series, potentially, and that’s what I want to do, but ultimately you’ve got to be healthy to do that, so I’m just trying to get all the options possible.”

“We’re just trying to see how close I can get it to being stable and that kind of stuff without injuring it further or hurting the rotator cuff or something like that,” he added. “Being 100 percent for half a year next year, or rehabbing for a little while and seeing where you’re at and potentially getting it done, September and October, and missing all of next year — that plays into it.”

- Bailey suffered the injuries when he threw a 1-2 fastball to Jed Lowrie in the eighth inning in Oakland on July 12. He remained in the game, struck out Lowrie and did the same to Yoenis Cespedes immediately afterward. However, he said he knew something was wrong after the pitch to Lowrie, although he had felt fine before throwing it.

“That was everything I had,” Bailey said of staying in the game. “I threw a pitch, the 1-2 pitch to Lowrie, struck him out, did not feel good, walked around the mound a little bit and contemplated on calling Salty out or something. I just felt it go. But I said screw it, let’s go. Ended up striking [Lowrie] out, but didn’t feel good.”

– Bailey said he feels the injury has been building up, although he characterized the previous wear and tear as just “baseball stuff — nothing that needed to be looked at or anything.”

“I feel like it’s been building for a while,” Bailey said. “After I hurt my bicep ‘€¦ we looked at the MRI and nothing was there. Nothing substantial was there. In my mind I feel like it’s been building, and the doctors, I think they feel that too.”

– Bailey said he plans to reach out to other pitchers who have had similar injuries for advice, naming John Danks and Chris Young, although he hadn’t had the chance to do so yet.

“I know what I’ve been told is each case is different,” Bailey said. “Tears and all that kind of stuff and damage, mine’s very comparable to some other guys’ but not as bad as other guys’.”

Danks had surgery to repair a torn capsule and damage to his rotator cuff in August of 2012. He has a 4.31 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP since returning to the White Sox in May, a relatively quick recovery. Young had a similar procedure in May of 2011 and returned to the Mets the following June.

– The injury is especially frustrating, Bailey noted, since he’d been feeling healthy and throwing relatively well over the last few weeks. Over his four July appearances, he hadn’t allowed a run and had struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings.

“Knowing how I felt the last couple months and where I got to, the last couple of weeks, I felt great,” Bailey said. “The game’s a funny game — you throw one pitch and all of a sudden you’ve got a decision to make. I think it’s frustrating where the team is at too — we’re in first place and selfishly I want to be a part of it. I haven’t been 100 percent, but going out there and competing and doing my job recently has been satisfying.”

– Bailey said that as disappointed as he is at the possibility that his season may be over, he’s still optimistic that he will pitch again.

“It’s not a death sentence by any means,” he said of the injury and the procedure to repair it.

– With the possibility of being sidelined for a year on the table, Bailey was asked if his Red Sox career could be over. The right-hander has a year left of team control through salary arbitration before he is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, though it’s possible that given the injury, the Sox could seek to negotiate a pay cut with Bailey or non-tender him this winter.

“I still have one more [year of] arbitration. Right now, I’m just kind of concentrating on [decision]. We’ve got to deal with that first,” said Bailey. “Hopefully my time [with the Sox] is not done. I love it here. It’s been a frustrating couple years, but no doubt I can come back from this.”

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