The A’s pitching staff has been the team’s biggest strength so far this season, but the team’s bullpen has been pretty solid as well. The bullpen figured to be a very formidable staff coming into the season, but an injury to Andrew Bailey, the team’s All-Star closer, took a bite out of the bullpen. Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes, however, have both filled in nicely for Bailey in his absence.
Bailey, 25, has been sidelined since March, but the A’s young righty has been making significant strides towards returning to Oakland. With Balfour pitching well, however, Bailey probably will have to wait a while before assuming his role as the team’s closer. Bailey has made several appearances with Triple-A Sacramento, and A’s manager Bob Geren has hinted that Bailey could return during the team’s six-game home-stand.
The A’s obviously would boast a better bullpen with Bailey, but the team appears to have no desire to rush their young All-Star. The A’s made an effort this offseason to solidify their pitching, and so far, Billy Beane’s moves have made Bailey’s absence a little easier to deal with.