Sports

Andrew Bailey understands demotion

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Deposed Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey said he completely understands the move the team made to acquire Joel Hanra­han, which bumped him to set-up man.

“I think the move was good,” he said. “It definitely bolsters our bullpen and makes it stronger. I totally understand it. I was hurt last year. I can’t do anything about it. If I had pitched the way I was capable of pitching, that trade doesn’t happen.

“Fact is, I wasn’t on the field and they have to make sure we win. I’m a team guy first. Whatever happens, happens.”

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Bailey, 28, thinks the Sox bullpen could be “the best in the AL if not all of baseball.”

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Bailey, who had a 7.04 ERA in 19 games upon returning from thumb surgery in mid-August, said, “My mentality hasn’t changed. I have to put up a zero when I come into the game.

“Everyone wants to be a closer. I know my closing days aren’t over and I hope they aren’t over in a Red Sox uniform. I’m not naive to think I’d miss six weeks and have my job waiting for me.

“It’ll be a fun competition. I know he’s been named the closer, but if I’m pitching the way I can, we’re going to have a strong bullpen.”

Bailey said he is not thinking about being traded, though that appears to be a possibility as teams watch him throw in camp.

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“I don’t think that enters my mind,” he said. “I think everyone’s goal is to close games. I don’t think my days are done — maybe on hold for a little bit.

“I’m focused on this upcoming season. If a trade happens, it is what it is.”