BOSTON -- Though Red Sox manager John Farrell knows that Andrew Bailey needs to start pitching better, he is not ready to make a change in the vital role of closer.
"Well, any time you can go to a guy to lock down a game in which you're supposed to win, I think that keeps momentum going within our clubhouse," said Farrell. "It keeps a positive atmosphere within that group, and yet, every good player is going to go through some ups and downs along the way, and that's where our job as a staff comes in to get him back on track and have them perform to their capabilities."
Bailey has given up runs in three of his last four appearances, posting an 11.25 ERA in that span. This, after the closer allowed runs in just three of his first 19 games.
A couple of things have been at work during the slide. Bailey, according to Farrell, has lost the "second gear" on his fastball. Also, Bailey hasn't been able to command his breaking ball.
"I think over the last four outings, it's been pretty clear that any time he throws a breaking ball, guys are spitting on it until he has thrown it for a strike," Farrell said. "An increase in consistency to his breaking ball will go a long way."
The Red Sox don't detect any health problems with Bailey, who was on the disabled list from April 29-May 20 with a right biceps strain.
"There's been no complaints of soreness, no adjustment to his warmup routine, so all those are consistent," Farrell said. "We're dealing with a human being."
"Andrew's had a couple tough outings here recently, but if you look at the total body of work, his performance over the course of the season, he's still having a very solid year," general manager Ben Cherington said. "Every player goes through slumps. When your outfielder goes through slumps, those 0-for-5 days, nobody really notices. When it's the closer, it gets more attention. He's going through that, but we're really confident he'll get back on track and start closing out games again. Certainly no one is working harder at it than he is."
The one thing Boston does have is a reliable core of setup men, including Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow.
But no bullpen can function fully unless the closer is getting the job done.
"Right now, I want to make sure there's some level of stability and continuity with that group," said Farrell. "I firmly believe that there's a mental side out there for this group that's important. For them to know where they stack up -- albeit adjustments are willing to be made -- that's still the approach."
Tireless Salty draws another start for Red Sox
BOSTON -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia will finally get a chance to rest on Thursday night, when the Red Sox open a four-game series in Detroit.
But even after playing both ends of a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday and catching all 18 innings, Saltalamacchia was right back behind the plate on Wednesday.
David Ross was supposed to start Tuesday's nightcap, but had to go on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion.
"[Saltalamacchia] felt good coming out of yesterday," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We felt like, with today's matchup, and then with [Jose] Alvarez a left-hander going tomorrow, it's likely [Ryan] Lavarnway will be back there handling [John] Lackey over in Detroit, first game."
If the Red Sox seem to be relying a lot on Saltalamacchia lately, it's because he's earned that trust.
"I think even from the beginning of this year, there's been, I think, more familiarity with the guys on the mound, what their capabilities are," said Farrell. "And his ability to read swings is, I think, has shown up in the pitch selection that he's used. He's had obviously a couple of good games where his throwing and his transfer has been quick and efficient. He's always had arm strength, but I think his overall game has taken a step forward."
Saltalamacchia is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, and his stock within the organization seems to be growing.
"I think he has taken a step forward all around," said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. "You get feedback from pitchers and you see it yourself with the job he's doing behind the plate managing the game, the respect he's getting from pitchers and umpires. I thought [Farrell] might give him the day off today, but he's [in there]."
Ross to visit noted concussion specialist
BOSTON -- The Red Sox should get a better idea of how David Ross is responding to his second concussion of the season when the backup catcher goes to Pittsburgh to see Dr. Michael Collins on Thursday.
"I don't know if there's ever a normal recovery type or time with these -- they take on a life of their own," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "After the foul ball Friday night down in Baltimore, there was further onset of symptoms. While he's not as severe as the first time he went on the DL, there's still some things that are lingering. We're going to send him out there to be examined."
Collins is the same noted concussion specialist that Boston shortstop Stephen Drew went to see during Spring Training.
Remy to return to NESN booth Tuesday
BOSTON -- Jerry Remy has a piece of good news for Red Sox fans. The popular color analyst will be back in his familiar perch in the NESN broadcast booth on Tuesday night, when Boston opens its next homestand against the Colorado Rockies.
Remy has been out of work since May 28 after suffering an allergy attack and then pneumonia.
Due to his two bouts with lung cancer -- the most recent of which occurred a few months ago -- Remy did not immediately respond to oral medications, prolonging his recovery.
"I'll be able to return to the booth with no restrictions on Tuesday, and what caused this relapse or whatever it is, everything I've said at the beginning was true," said Remy. "I was working a Sunday game [May 26] and I had an allergy attack. I thought that would improve within a couple of days, and it actually got worse on the Monday night that I worked.
"So I went to the doctor on the following day and I was told at that time that I had pneumonia. So at that point, they put me on oral medication, which I thought would clear things up within a matter of days. Unfortunately, my body rejected the antibiotics that they put me on and continued to get worse, so from that point on, they admitted me to Mass. General, where I spent five days and was on a heavy dose of antibiotics. Within 48 hours, that made a tremendous difference in how I felt."
Remy has had several short-term illnesses in recent seasons.
"It's hard, because the same thing has happened three years in a row," Remy said. "I've come down with these allergies, and then in the process, now we're trying to find out what I'm allergic to and what's starting this stuff. Now, obviously my lungs are compromised because of having cancer twice.
"So any time I get some kind of illness, it seems to gravitate to my lungs and that makes things obviously more complicated. It's frustrating, but yet, on the other hand, things could be a lot worse. I'm just glad I'm past this recent episode and looking forward to getting back to what I enjoy doing the most -- and that's doing Red Sox games."
During his stay at Mass. General, Remy got good news on a follow-up CT scan on his lungs.
"The results of the radiation treatment [from March] were very, very good," Remy said. "That's a bit of a load off my mind. I guess that's probably about it. I can't think of anything else I might be missing except I miss doing my job and I'm thankful for NESN for being so understanding for everything I've been through and I'm looking very much forward to getting back into the booth and following this club into the playoffs."
Don't look for Remy to cut back on his schedule, be it for home games or road games.
"I'm going back full bore," Remy said. "There's no restrictions on travel. Until that Sunday, I felt fabulous. I had no after-effects of radiation, no after-effects of anything. I felt great and I just, all of a sudden, I went down in the dumps in a matter of days. But no, going forward, I had planned to complete my schedule and plan to complete it for a long time to come."
The 60-year-old Remy - who has been broadcasting Red Sox games since 1988 -- doesn't plan on putting away his microphone any time soon.
"Look, it's what I love to do," Remy said. "It's hard for me to sit back and not be able to do my job. Unfortunately, things like this are going to pop up. It's hard for me to deal with them. The fact is, I'm really looking forward to Tuesday night.
"It's part of my life and it's what I enjoy doing the most, and as I've always said, when I eventually retire from doing this, it will be much harder than when I retired as a baseball player. I still have the passion and love for what I do. I just plan on doing it for as long as NESN will have me."
Remy just had one more thing to add at the end of his conference call with reporters.
"Go Sox and go Bruins."