Bailey almost ready for his first game

FORT MYERS, Fla. — You may recall Andrew Bailey. Nice guy, good pitcher, the new closer for the team.

He has yet to pitch in a game because of a strained lat muscle. But his exile from the mound is coming to an end.

Bailey is scheduled to throw live batting practice on Friday and is tentatively lined up for an inning against the Marlins on Monday. “Everything is fine,” he said this morning. “We were just being cautious because it’s spring training.”

As a closer, Bailey only needs to make eight or nine appearances (roughly 9-11 innings) this spring to be ready for the season. If he pitches on Monday, there will be 20 days left to get that work in factoring in the two scheduled days off.

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Closers have a pretty good gig in spring training. In New York, Mariano Rivera has literally gone years without pitching a road game in spring training. Mo wants to pitch in a few games, throw two innings in a minor league game and then start the season.

It was always funny to see the clubhouse guys put the road uniform in Rivera’s locker every spring knowing he was going to give it back a few minutes later.