BALTIMORE -- Andrew Bailey is back, but Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he won’t be the closer just yet.
Bailey has missed the entire season after right thumb surgery on April 4 and was reinstated from the disabled list Tuesday. Valentine clearly is very happy to get him back.
“Andrew’s been one of the guys that’s been missing since spring training,” Valentine said before the series opener with the Orioles. “We had such excitement and high hopes about everything he could do for our team ... [but] I don’t think that he’ll be closing the game as we speak.”
Bailey also is happy to be with the team again. He pitched well in rehab Aug. 1-12, finishing with a 1.42 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings (six games).
“It’s been way too long,” Bailey said. “I’m excited to be here, and I can’t wait to get out there.”
Bailey also said he’s not worried about when and where Valentine uses him. He just wants to get out there and help the Red Sox try to make a late-season run.
“I’m just going to be ready when the phone rings, so I have no expectations whatsoever,” Bailey said. “We’re at a point in time where we’ve got to start winning ballgames -- everyone knows that.”
Door opens for Lavarnway: Also on Tuesday, the Red Sox traded backup catcher Kelly Shoppach to the New York Mets for a player to be named later. That deal opens the door for Ryan Lavarnway to possibly get more playing time. The rookie, named by Baseball America as the International League’s best defensive catcher, was in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game.
“Any opportunity I can get to show what I can do is appreciated,” Lavarnway said. “Shoppach was a good teammate. Now it’s time for me and [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] to kind of take the reins.”
Lavarnway played 17 games with Boston last year and comes into the game with just a .100 average (2-for-20) in seven games this season. He was batting .295 with Triple-A Pawtucket and celebrated his 25th birthday on Aug. 7.
Valentine said that there’s no concrete plan in place yet for Lavarnway in terms of playing time. He just wants the best lineup in place each night.
“I’m going to try to play the guys that are going to help us win the most,” Valentine said. “Salty’s an integral part of this group. [We’ll] see if Ryan can become one.”
Ortiz still resting: The David Ortiz situation remains up in the air. He’s on the third day of a three-day down stretch where the veteran won’t be doing anything in order to rest his sore right Achilles.
Ortiz and Valentine both said before batting practice that the situation remained unsettled.
“I have no idea,” Valentine said. “I wish I did.”