PHOENIX -- Score one for closer Andrew Bailey and the A's.
Following Monday's very serious scare, news out of Alabama a day later left Oakland breathing a huge sigh of relief: Bailey was diagnosed with a strained right forearm during a visit to renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Alabama. According to the team, there is no structural damage.
Which is significantly better than it appeared on Monday when Bailey clutched at his elbow, held his arm close to his body and walked off of the mound in pain during a Cactus League game. Bailey has a checkered health history with his elbow, dating back to undergoing Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery when he was in college.
More recently, Bailey, a two-time All-Star, was shut down two weeks early in 2010 and underwent a surgery to "clean out" his elbow.
That's why the sight of him coming off the mound Monday was so disheartening ... and why news that the injury is just a strain is so welcome.
"Any time a pitcher comes out of a game like Andrew did, you hold your breath," A's president and general manager Billy Beane said in a statement. While there is no timetable on his return, this is welcome news."
Because Bailey will not resume throwing until there are no more symptoms of the strain, and that could range from days to weeks, there remains a very good chance that he opens the season on the disabled list, but even missing a couple of weeks of the season -- or whatever it turns out to be early -- sure beats another surgery.
Especially after it threw such a scare into the Athletics.
"That was possibly the toughest moment going in to pitch of any game of my life," said Brad Ziegler, who was summoned when Bailey left. "If it's a little discomfort, it would be one thing. But he was doubled over in pain. It was like, 'Oh my gosh.'"
Speaking Tuesday morning before the extent of Bailey's injury was known, Ziegler said, "It might be real serious, but we're all hoping some scar tissue became loose. I don't even know if that's realistic.
"We're all just thinking about him and praying for him."
Now, sooner rather than later, they'll get Bailey back.
Sunblock Day: Nice and consistent at 86 degrees. Bring lots of sunblock and, here in the desert, lots of water.
Likes: Bracket time. ... The Chrysler Sebring convertible to which the nice rental car lady gave me the keys upon arrival here nearly two weeks ago. The top has been down much of the time. Fabulous. ... Mavis Staples' You Are Not Alone, produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. I've mentioned this before, but this disc is phenomenally good. ... Jimmy Buffett over the sound system in spring training parks. ... Oregano's still has its fastball. Several locations throughout the Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa and Scottsdale areas, and I'm here to tell you, the thin crust pizza is outstanding and the pizza cookie dessert is killer (half-baked cookie with ice cream over it). ... The tortilla-encrusted halibut at Rokerij in Phoenix the other night. Best dinner option in the valley.
Dislikes: Subway remains a go-to lunch place when I'm in a hurry and want to eat something relatively healthy. But I have to say, I've been angry with them for years now since they went to Coke products and eliminated the Mountain Dew.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed
"Dignity never been photographed
"I went into the red, went into the black
"Into the valley of dry bone dreams
"So many roads, so much at stake
"So many dead ends, I’m at the edge of the lake
"Sometimes I wonder what it’s gonna take
"To find dignity"
-- Bob Dylan, Dignity