Red Sox closer Bailey to have right thumb examined

Posted April 01, 2012, at 8:22 p.m.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said closer Andrew Bailey will travel to Boston on Monday to have his right thumb examined.

Valentine made the announcement after Sunday’s 5-1 win over Minnesota Twins.

Bailey, who was acquired in a December trade with the Athletics, has not pitched in a major league game since March 25, against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. He pitched 1 2/3 innings in a minor league game on Wednesday.

Bailey was delayed at the start of spring training because of a strained lat suffered during the vertical leap portion of his entrance physical.

In addition to the minor league outing, he has pitched six innings in six Grapefruit League games this spring, with an 0-1 record and a 4.50 ERA.

The extent of Bailey’s problem is not known. Valentine said it began bothering Bailey during the March 21 game in Bradenton against the Pirates, but Valentine was not made aware of it until Friday.

After his outing on Wednesday, Bailey didn’t mention any problem, saying:

“I’ll probably go two out of three (days) and then probably have the two days off, in (Washington,) D.C., and the off day (Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively),” he said.

“And then be ready for opening day. So we’ll probably do a game, off, game, and then the two days off and then opening day.

“I’m ready to roll. Looking forward to it.”

The extent of Bailey’s problem is not known. Valentine said it began bothering Bailey during the March 21 game in Bradenton against the Pirates, but Valentine was not made aware of it until Friday.

“Everything that I’ve been searching my mind through,” Valentine said. “He had the collision at first base in Bradenton, and when he went down, everything that I could think of that maybe he went down after the collision, and with the adrenaline didn’t even realize that anything happened. I asked everyone if they’d seen anything, asked the weight room, and he doesn’t have anything. So, we’ll see.”

Bailey missed time with injuries each of the past two seasons. He began last season on the disabled list with the Athletics because of a strained right forearm. He missed time in 2010 with a right intercostal strain then made his final appearance on Sept. 17 before undergoing right elbow surgery on Sept. 24.

If Bailey is put on the disabled list or unavailable for a stretch, the Red Sox have options to close.

Earlier in the day, Valentine announced the final two spots in the rotation will be filled by left-hander Felix Doubront and right-hander Daniel Bard.

They will join Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz. Right-hander Alfredo Aceves, who was also vying for one of the rotation spots, will go to the bullpen, partly because of his versatility and experience there.

Valentine said Sunday morning part of the decision was because of a health issue for one of the other relievers, which was revealed later in the day.

“It seems that with Aceves being the very key component three days ago he’s even more of a key component now,” Valentine said.

RED SOX 5, TWINS 1: The Twins’ Carl Pavano went 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs and seven hits, with no walks and three strikeouts in a 5-1 loss to Boston Sunday. He is 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA in the spring.

Pavano, entering his 14th season, got through his first five innings with relative ease.

He was challenged in the fourth when the Red Sox loaded the bases. Adrian Gonzalez led off with a single, before Kevin Youkilis flied out. David Ortiz singled to left, and Pavano hit Cody Ross with a pitch to load the bases.

But Pavano struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and got Ryan Sweeney to fly out to right to end the threat.

Chris Parmelee hit his fifth home run of the spring in the sixth inning to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

The Red Sox then rallied in the bottom of the inning.

Youkilis led off, getting hit by a pitch and was replaced by pinch-runner Pedro Ciriaco.

David Ortiz struck out. With Ross batting, Ciriaco stole second and third, scoring on Ross’ double.

Saltalamacchia grounded out with Ross going to third. Sweeney’s single to left-center scored Ross. Sweeney scored on Mike Aviles’ double to left, driving Pavano from the game.

He was replaced by Alex Burnett, who gave up a triple to Jacoby Ellsbury, scoring Aviles, but Ellsbury was thrown out trying to score on the play, ending the inning.

“I thought the inning with the bases loaded I threw a bunch of pitches and I think it tired me out,” Pavano said.

This will be Pavano’s second straight opening day start for the Twins.

“It’s great,” he said. “It’s an honor from your organization, to feel like they want you to be the guy who starts them off two years in a row. It’s also my job to go out there and start us off on the right foot.”

Garrett Mock earned the win for the Red Sox. He threw two innings, allowing one run and one hit.

Dustin Pedroia and Gonzalez each went 2 for 4 with a double for the Red Sox.

Earlier in the day, the Twins made a series of roster moves, paring their roster down to 27, including two non-roster players.

“Good. I’m happy with everything the way it turned out,” Gardenhire said. “Health-wise is good. Get through a few more days here and start playing ball. If we need to tweak it, we will tweak it. If we don’t like something we see, we can change it because we have some pretty good people at AAA.”

Notes: The Red Sox optioned catcher Ryan Lavarnway to Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. They have 40 players in big league camp, including 29 from the 40-man roster, two on the 60-day disabled list, and nine non-roster invitees. … The Twins made a series of roster moves Sunday. Right-hander Casey Fien, catcher J.R. Towles, infielder Brian Dozier, and outfielder Brian Dinkelman were reassigned to minor league camp. The Twins have one player on the 15-day disabled list, pitcher Kyle Waldrop, and 27 players still in big league camp: 14 pitchers (one non-roster), two catchers, seven infielders (one non-roster) and four outfielders.

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