As Spring Training approaches the A’s will be paying special attention to their offense and how they can continue to make the changes that are necessary to get them back to their caliber of excellence that they were known for. One of those players is ready to do just that. Andrew Bailey, who missed the tail end of the season, says that he will be ready to play ball come this April’s Opening Day against the Mariners.
Bailey was questionable last season due to his elbow injury; speculation was afloat that it his injury was so serious that he may have to undergo Tommy John surgery. However, that was not the case and Bailey has just recently been cleared to play by A’s Manager Billy Beane, a day that Bailey has been looking forward to for a long time.
As you may recall, a plethora of injuries had plagued the 2009 A.L. Rookie of the Year. Back in August of 2010, Bailey was to come back to throw after being put on the DL for a right intercostal (rib) strain at the end of July, but after a few throws manager Bob Geren said, “”it didn’t go as well as we’d like,” After that Bailey was able to come back for a short time and then was put back on the DL for the minor repairs to his nagging elbow.
Bailey is actually very excited to come back and is quite happy that his rehab went so well. Jane Lee of MLB.com quoted Bailey as saying, “I’m actually surprised about how good I feel, in terms of my extension,” . “I was at a negative-25 degree extension before surgery, and I was pitching like that for three years, and now I’m below 10 degrees. I’ve never seen my arm go that straight, which is a good thing.” Bailey remains confident that this is a turning point for him and hopefully can leave the slew of injuries he faced behind him.
Bailey’s stats remained somewhat consistent throughout his two years with the A’s. He has a 1.70 ERA but saw a low in his strikeouts per innings go from a 9.8 in 2009 to a 7.7 in 2010. As a whole, Bailey and the rest of his posse of closers did not do to as bad as one had thought last season. They were able to capture third place in the AL with 74.5 percent of saves and a 27.1 percent in inherited runs, a fourth place standing. This season should see a much more higher ranking and percentage with Bailey coming back to add to what should be an exciting 2011 season.