Andrew Bailey might not be ready to go to start the season, but even so, the A's were feeling good Tuesday about their All-Star closer, who was diagnosed with a forearm muscle strain rather than a more serious ligament injury.

"Obviously, you hold your breath when a guy leaves the mound. We all held our breath," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "The positive thing is that we got concise, quick information and a specific diagnosis, and this diagnosis is strangely welcome, albeit that this will set him back a bit.

"This is good news, given everyone's first impression."

Bailey left the seventh inning of Monday's game holding his elbow after feeling discomfort while throwing a fastball. He had Tommy John surgery (elbow ligament replacement) in 2004 and had an elbow cleanup procedure in September to remove bone chips and spurs.

Bailey traveled to Alabama to see Dr. James Andrews, who conducted the surgery last fall. After reviewing an MRI and examining Bailey, Andrews determined that Bailey may begin throwing again when he is pain-free.

That makes it likely that Bailey will open the season on the disabled list, but it certainly wouldn't indicate anything that's close to season-ending. Brett Anderson, for instance, missed just over a month last season with a forearm strain, but Anderson also had elbow inflammation and he's a starter.