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Growing up, Andrew Bailey was a fan of the Phillies and now, he's pitching out of their bullpen

Andrew Bailey simply didn't throw enough strikes late in Spring Training to make the Phillies roster. With Lehigh Valley, the Phillies were more impressed with what they saw and they decided to make a change in the bullpen.

As a kid growing up in Voorhees, New Jersey, Andrew Bailey rooted for the Phillies. We went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year in 2009 as a member of the Oakland A's when he saved 26 games. After saving another 49 games over the next two seasons, Bailey fell on harder times and wound up looking for work during the offseason when his favorite team gave him a call. In Spring Training, Bailey pitched well early, but lacked command and consistency late in the preseason and the Phillies decided they were better off with him starting at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

With the IronPigs, Bailey pitched in four games, covering five innings, walking just two hitters while striking out 10, so the Phillies decided the command was back and he would be able to help in relief with the ballclub. To make room for Bailey, the Phillies designated left-hander James Russell for assignment, but the team is hopeful that he will wind up sticking with the organization and pitch at Lehigh Valley. With the Phillies this season, the 30-year old Russell had pitched in seven games, spanning just 4 1/3 innings and allowed nine hits and five walks. Two of the hits were home runs and his ERA was 18.69, although most of the damage had been done in his first two outings of the season. After pitching against Cincinnati and the Mets, Russell had already allowed six earned runs over just 2/3 of an inning for an 81.00 ERA.

Bailey, who has pitched in the majors with The A's, Red Sox and Yankees, has a career ERA of 2.74 in the majors, with 89 saves. The Phillies are hoping he can help their beleaguered bullpen, which has shown signs of turning things around of late. The bullpen turned in 6 2/3 shutout innings against the New York Mets Wednesday night in a 5-4 win in 11 innings.

Russell was somewhat expendable, since the Phillies still have two left-handers - Elvis Araujo and Brett Oberholtzer - in the bullpen. The Phillies had started the season with Oberholtzer, Russell and Daniel Stumpf as lefty relievers, but Araujo replaced Stumpf when the Rule 5 pick was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for PEDs in his system last week. Bailey was with the Phillies for the series finale against the Mets Wednesday, but didn't get into the game. He had pitched an inning for Lehigh Valley on Tuesday against Syracuse.


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