BOSTON (AP) — Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow used to sit in the the bullpen joking about a future in which Breslow was running a major league team and Bailey would be a member of the coaching staff.
Now, that's exactly what has happened.
Bailey was hired Tuesday as pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox, joining Alex Cora's staff a month after Breslow became the team's chief baseball officer. Bailey, who spent the previous four seasons as the Giants pitching coach, played with Breslow in Oakland for three seasons before they both joined the Red Sox from 2012-13.
“It's a pretty unique relationship,” Bailey said Tuesday night. “To be able to joke around like that with a former teammate and a true friend, and now be able to see that path laid out and be able to compete together in another capacity, is special."
A New Jersey native, Bailey said he would have been interested in coming back to Boston even if Breslow hadn't been hired, in part to get back to the East Coast. He also didn't like the way his Red Sox career finished in 2013: A shoulder injury ended his season in July, and he missed the World Series run, as well as all of the following season.
“I know I was brought there to do a job. And unfortunately, as a player, I wasn’t able to to do that job to the best of my ability due to injuries,” he said. “And it’s it’s not too frequent you get a second opportunity to kind of right the ship in a different capacity.”
Bailey, 39, replaced Dave Bush, Boston’s pitching coach for the past four seasons.
The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star, Bailey was 16-14 with a 3.12 ERA and 95 saves in eight seasons with Oakland, Boston, the New York Yankees, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Angels. He appeared in 19 games with a 7.04 ERA for Bobby Valentine and the 2012 Red Sox, who lost 93 games, and was 3-1 with a 3.77 ERA and eight saves for Boston the following year, when John Farrell took over and led the team to the World Series title.
“I know what it’s like to do blow a save in Boston. I know what it’s like to be a player to have success as well,” Bailey said. “We won a World Series, and we finished in last place. I experienced both of those, and I kind of ran the gamut in Boston as well in a really short period of time. ... I think we can draw from those experiences, for sure.”
Bailey spent 2018 as an Angels coaching assistant and video replay coordinator and 2019 as the Angels bullpen coach. He switched to the Giants to work under manager Gabe Kapler, who was fired after the season and replaced by Bob Melvin.
Bailey is also the director of development for the Breslow's Strike 3 Foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research.
“There’s a lot of people that you meet along the way in this game. And I think there’s a handful of people that you can call true friends, and Craig is one of them,” Bailey said. “Along the way, you get a lot of teammates and coaches and you cross paths here and there, but we’ve stayed in contact. Craig is a big reason why I was pitching coach in San Francisco. And, obviously, a main driver of of why I’m with the Red Sox now.”
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