Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/4/12
BOSTON –– The 2012 season was a nightmare for Andrew Bailey. Shortly after getting traded from Oakland to Boston, Bailey hoped to shed his injury-prone stigma. Instead, the closer prolonged that reputation when he suffered a thumb injury that sidelined him until August. When he returned, Bailey was far from stellar in relief, compiling a 1-1 record with a 7.04 ERA. The 28-year-old also failed to convert three of his nine save opportunities, a string of lackluster performances that he’s anxious to end next season. “My performance last year, I’d be the first to say, wasn’t who I was or wasn’t anything I was proud of,” Bailey said. “Even when I was healthy, I didn’t do my job to my fullest expectations or the organization’s expectations. I’m taking that into my offseason workout, knowing I have to hammer down games for this organization and for this team. We’ve got to get to the playoffs. That’s where my mindset is.” There have been reports that indicate the Red Sox would be opening to trading Bailey this offseason. With the emergence of Junichi Tazawa –– who posted a 1.43 ERA last season in relief –– it could potentially make Bailey expendable. But Bailey isn’t allowing that thought to creep into his mind. In order to fortify his role on the Red Sox, he tweaked his offseason schedule and plans to start light throwing as early as this week. “Right now, I would think I’m the only guy in that [closer's] role,” said Bailey, who is looking to arrive in Fort Myers in the first week of February. “They traded for me for a reason.” Even with those competitive juices, Bailey raved about Tazawa’s growth over the past season. He’s looking forward to teaming up with the Japanese hurler and shutting opponents down in the backend of the bullpen. “Him mentally just handling the ups and downs between Triple-A and big leagues was very impressive,” Bailey said of Tazawa. “And obviously, coming up here and doing what he did is just icing on the cake. He has a big bright future ahead of him. I loved having him in the bullpen. Anyone with that kind of stuff deserves an opportunity.”  Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.
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