TAMPA, Fla. -- Andrew Bailey, now with the Yankees, never quite got going during his two years with the Red Sox, thanks to a barrage of health woes. But he reflects fondly on his time in Boston and will be honored to receive his World Series ring at some point this season.
"Oh man, for sure," said Bailey. "I'm really looking forward to it. It means a lot to me. Any time you win a championship, it's special. No matter what you contribute, you're a part of history. Even throwing for half a season is something I'll never forget -- being part of a championship season."
Coming off surgery last July that prevented him from pitching for the Red Sox in the postseason, Bailey will likely return at some point during the second half of the season.
The Red Sox acquired Bailey to be their closer prior to the 2012 season, but a right thumb injury had him on the disabled list just before Opening Day. Last year, he started as the setup man and became the closer for a while, only to lose the job during a slump and then lose his season thanks to significant shoulder issues.
Though some players leave the team during prolonged injury rehabs, particularly when they will soon be free agents, Bailey was a frequent presence in Boston's clubhouse and dugout for the remainder of the 2013 season.
"Before I got hurt in May, I really felt like myself again," said Bailey. "Thought I was going to have a great year. I had a hiccup and then kind of grinded through the next six weeks until [my shoulder] went. And also, them affording me the opportunity to heal up at home for a couple of weeks and then be with the team all the way through September and through the playoffs was special. They didn't have to do that. I really acknowledge that they let me do that and they wanted me there and the guys wanted me there. It was cool to be a part of."
Bailey said he considered a return to the Red Sox, but he felt there would ultimately be better opportunities to land a spot in the Yankees' bullpen.
"We had communication throughout the offseason, but I thought the opportunity here was great," Bailey said. "Those guys were awesome. During the offseason, I was going up and working with [Red Sox trainers] once a week at least all the way until pretty much when I signed. We were in constant communication. They had their hands on me. But I thought this was a great opportunity for me and my family at the same time."
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.