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Bailey pitching like the closer he once was

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 6, 2013 11:33 AM

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TORONTO Andrew Bailey threw 19 pitches in the eighth inning on Friday night. Thirteen were fastballs and three of those produced swinging strikes. All were between 95-97 mph.

Bailey put two runners on with one out then picked up two outs in a span of five pitches.

"He had great stuff, the best I've seen from him," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "That fastball was great."

Bailey was a closer in Oakland for three seasons and twice made the All-Star team. A thumb injury ruined last season for him, but now he looks like the pitcher the Sox thought they had when they acquired him from the Athletics.

"He's healthy," manager John Farrell said. "You look back to last year and missing three-plus months. That's extremely difficult to try and make up and jump back in the flow of things after you've missed that amount of time. But he's pitching with a lot of confidence and you that grow with each outing in spring training.

"Obviously it's a little bit of a luxury to have that type of pitcher in the eighth inning."

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