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Closer Andrew Bailey to Undergo Thumb Surgery

Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey will undergo surgery Wednesday and likely miss 3-4 months. (Yahoo Sports/AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

So much for starting the season off on a good note.

The Boston Red Sox kick off their 2012 season on Thursday afternoon in Detroit, but they will have to do it without their new closer, Andrew Bailey.

After receiving a second opinion in Cleveland, Bailey will undergo surgery Wednesday on his injured thumb. Dr. Thomas Graham, who examined Bailey on Tuesday, will perform the surgery to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in Bailey’s right thumb.

The surgery should keep Bailey sidelined for 3-4 months, which is how long Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia needed to return from the same procedure. Bailey, however, could miss additional time in order to strengthen his pitching arm and work on his command. Red Sox trainers informed manager Bobby Valentine not to expect Bailey back before the All-Star break, prompting Valentine to attempt to quip,

“I don’t know what All-Star break he was referring to. I didn’t get specific with him.”

Perfect! Just what Red Sox Nation wanted to hear.

Valentine has not named who will get the bulk of the save opportunities in Bailey’s place, though it will most likely be Mark Melancon, the other new addition to the Red Sox bullpen this offseason. Alfredo Aceves will likely take over the 8th inning role that Melancon would have held.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a closer controversy without cuing the contingency of media and fans calling for Daniel Bard to get yanked from the starting rotation and returned to the back-end of the bullpen, all before he even throws a pitch out of the wind-up.

Let the drama of the 2012 Red Sox season begin.

About Nick Bohlen - @ndbohlen

Nick is an editor and regular contributor for the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox sections of SoB. (Despite growing up in Vermont, just a short drive from Canada, hockey never really caught on with him.) Follow him on twitter: @ndbohlen

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