Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine acknowledged Tuesday that closer Andrew Bailey was likely to be out for “a while” with a right thumb injury, leaving the team to fill a hole at the back of the bullpen with Opening Day looming.
Bailey is getting a second opinion on the injury from Dr. Thomas Graham in Cleveland and could undergo surgery later Tuesday if the doctor agrees with the initial diagnosis, a team source told ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes. Red Sox team doctors examined Bailey in Boston on Monday.
The exact nature of Bailey’s thumb injury and the timetable for his return are still unclear.
Red Sox starter Josh Beckett is also in Cleveland getting his right thumb examined by Dr. Graham, a noted hand and wrist specialist who previously performed surgeries on Kevin Youkilis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Beckett had his thumb examined by Dr. Mark Bagg in San Antonio on Monday and wanted another opinion to ease his mind. Valentine said Tuesday he still expects Beckett to make his first start of the season April 7 in Detroit.
Valentine didn’t name an interim closer, but said he envisioned one person would take the bulk of the save opportunities rather than employ a closer by committee. Valentine said he wanted to speak with the player before announcing it.