Andrew Bailey blew three saves in only nine opportunities after returning from right thumb surgery last season, enough for the Red Sox to replace him last winter by trading for Joel Hanrahan.
So, now that he’s the closer again, how secure can Bailey possibly feel?
“I’m the guy here,” Bailey said yesterday, smoke still billowing from his 10th-inning implosion in Monday night’s wild 14-inning win over the Tampa Bay Rays. “No one else is here to do the job. I’m comfortable in that role.”

Generally speaking, Bailey has been good at it, too. He was named AL Rookie of the Year in 2009 and was an All-Star twice in three seasons with the Oakland Athletics before the Red Sox traded for him to take over when Jonathan Papelbon left for the Philadelphia Phillies via free agency.
Bailey has a 2.33 ERA and 27 strikeouts in only 191⁄3 innings this season, and he is 6-for-8 in save chances since Hanrahan underwent season-ending elbow surgery last month.
The knock on Bailey stems from his inability to stay healthy. He has taken five turns on the disabled list in the past four years, including one already this season with biceps tendinitis.
After the Sox felt the need to upgrade at closer in the winter, it isn’t unreasonable to wonder whether general manager Ben Cherington may have the same urge as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.
“That’s up to them,” Bailey said. “I think they know what I can do. I totally understood with getting Joel. Health has always been a concern and an issue for me for some reason. What I did last year toward the end, I had a couple bad games where I put up big crooked numbers. Joel definitely made us better. But I think guys have stepped up this year in the ’pen, like we knew they would. I think we’ve got a great staff down there and no need for change. But if they feel a need, then that’s what they’re there for.”