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Andrew Bailey getting closer to a return

By Pete Abraham
Globe Staff / May 13, 2012
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Injured Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey is hoping he will soon be cleared to start throwing again.

The righthander, who underwent surgery for a torn ligament in his right thumb April 4, is scheduled for an exam with surgeon Thomas Graham this week.

“It feels pretty normal to me,’’ Bailey said before the Red Sox beat the Indians, 4-1, Saturday night. “I’m hoping Dr. Graham tells me I can start throwing again. Or at least that I’m getting close to that.’’

Bailey is out of a cast and wearing a wrap on his hand.

“I can do everything except throw,’’ he said. “We’re in the strengthening phase of getting it ready. Range of motion is pretty much all back. Just worrying about getting stronger now, then I can start throwing.’’

Bailey has been at the team complex in Fort Myers, Fla., doing his rehab and returned to Fenway Park for the homestand.

“It’s kind of boring being down in Florida but I’m doing everything I can,’’ Bailey said.

Carl Crawford, who is out with left elbow and left wrist issues, believes he is 7-10 days away from picking up the pace in his rehab work. Crawford was shut down April 26 because of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

“It would be swinging a bat before throwing,’’ Crawford said. “It’s frustrating being out, but I want to make sure I don’t have any setbacks with it.’’

Melancon sharp Righthanded reliever Mark Melancon has appeared in 10 games for Triple A Pawtucket, throwing 10 scoreless innings without a walk and striking out 18.

The Red Sox demoted the pitcher they hoped would be their primary setup man April 18 after four terrible outings. Now the question is when he will be deemed ready to return.

“Getting great reports. I think it’s just figuring out the mix and how it is to get him back here,’’ manager Bobby Valentine said. “It’s not like we don’t want him here; it’s not like he hasn’t done what he was supposed to do down there.

“It’s a roster situation. It’s not a talent situation.’’

Pitching in at the plate The pitchers have started taking batting practice in preparation for the nine interleague road games coming up. The first is next Friday and Daniel Bard is the scheduled starter.

Bard has not had an at-bat since 2003, when he was a senior at Charlotte (N.C.) Christian High School. Bard played outfield and first base on his high school team and hit cleanup.

“I was recruited to do both. But once I started pitching well, that was it. I just pitched,’’ he said. “I’m actually looking forward to hitting again.’’

The focus for the pitchers has been getting bunts down. But based on his work in the cage, Bard does not look helpless taking a full cut like some of his pitching brethren.

Thomas claimed Lefthanded reliever Justin Thomas, who was designated for assignment Thursday, was claimed off waivers by the Yankees and assigned to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Thomas made the team out of spring training and was hit hard in seven appearances (four runs on 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings) before being sent to Pawtucket . . . The Red Sox sold infielder Jeff Larish to the Pirates. Larish, 29, was signed to a minor league deal earlier this month but had not been assigned to an affiliate. He has 101 games of major league experience.

Youkilis tosses Kevin Youkilis, on the disabled list with a lower back strain, was on the field for the second straight day, playing catch from 90 feet. “He’s on the proper schedule, no setbacks,’’ Valentine said . . . David Ortiz, who left Friday’s game in the seventh inning with a sore left heel, was back in the lineup and went 1 for 4 with an RBI. “We have an understanding if he feels anything, if he feels maybe he should not be swinging, even in the middle of an at-bat, he’ll let us know,’’ Valentine said before the game . . . The Indians made a series of moves. Righthander Zach McAllister, who started and took the loss, was called up from Triple A Columbus. They purchased the contract of infielder Jose Lopez and placed righthander Josh Tomlin on the disabled list. Infielder Jason Donald was optioned to Columbus and outfielder Nick Weglarz was designated for assignment to make room for Lopez on the 40-man roster . . . The Red Sox named their minor league award winners for April. Will Middlebrooks was named the top offensive player. Matt Barnes (3-0 with a 0.70 ERA in seven starts, plus 62 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings this season) was the pitcher of the month. Jackie Bradley Jr. was the defensive player of the month. The base runner award went to Kolbrin Vitek and Garin Cecchini got the base stealer award . . . The a cappella group Dartmouth (College) Aires received well-deserved cheers for the national anthem . . . The Indians were watching the 1989 film “Major League’’ in their clubhouse before batting practice. The comedy is about the Indians making the World Series . . . A public memorial service for Fenway public address announcer Carl Beane will be held Wednesday at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Convention Center at 7 p.m.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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