Red Sox Closer Andrew Bailey Expected To Need Thumb Surgery

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: Andrew Bailey listens as Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig speaks at a news conference at MLB headquarters on November 22, 2011 in New York City. Selig announced a new five-year labor agreement between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Boston Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey met with team doctors on Monday and is expected to need surgery on his thumb. He's going to see Dr. Thomas Graham, a hand specialist in Cleveland, today. If Graham agrees with the recommended surgery, it could happen today.

Bailey, 27, was acquired along with Ryan Sweeney from the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Josh Reddick and prospects Miles Head and Raul Alcantara. Bailey was expected to fill in for departed closer Jonathan Papelbon, who signed a five-year, $60MM deal with the Philadelphia Phillies during the offseason.

It's unknown how long Bailey will be out, but manager Bobby Valentine admitted there's a good chance he'll be sidelined for "a while." Valentine wants to designate one player as the closer, instead of closing by committee. Yesterday reliever Alfredo Aceves let it slip that he may have to take starter Josh Beckett's spot in the rotation, but now that Beckett is expected to start on Saturday, Aceves may be a candidate for the closer role. Another candidate is newly acquired Mark Melancon, who saved 20 games for the Houston Astros last year.

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