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Bailey takes step forward with bullpen session

Bailey takes step forward with bullpen session

ST. PETERSBURG -- Closer Andrew Bailey will likely be activated at some point during the Red Sox's three-city, nine-game road trip that opened on Tuesday night.

Bailey threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday, his first since going on the disabled list with a right biceps strain.

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He will throw a simulated game at Tropicana Field on Thursday. After that, Bailey will either make one Minor League rehab appearance over the weekend or join the Sox for the three-game series against the Twins.

"Another step in the right direction," said Bailey. "Everything felt great. I mixed in curveballs, cutter, changeups. A couple of everything. I think right now it's a baseball thing. We're moving in the right direction."

Bailey sounds as if he'd rather forgo a Minors appearance, while manager John Farrell seems to be leaning toward it. At any rate, Bailey should be activated, at the very latest, by Monday, when the Red Sox open a three-game series in Chicago.

Why does Farrell think a Minors appearance would be beneficial for Bailey, who last pitched on April 28?

"I think it's just to get additional adrenaline into some kind of game activity," Farrell said. "It's going to be somewhat sterile here at 2:30 in the afternoon on Thursday. To take it for a test run, I would think would be helpful and to answer any questions that Andrew might have when he steps on with the adrenaline within a given game."

However, Bailey will play a role in the decision.

"Well, by rights, he could refuse it, so we know that fully," said Farrell. "And the one thing that he's been great about in this situation is giving the feedback on how he feels and having input into the overall plan going forward and so far it's been positive and he's responded to every progressive step favorably."

With Joel Hanrahan down for the season, the Red Sox badly need Bailey back in the bullpen.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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