Andrew Bailey throws bullpen session, nears rehab stint

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Andrew Bailey has yet to pitch for the Red Sox thanks to a torn thumb ligament followed by a strained forearm, but the reliever threw a 20-pitch bullpen session yesterday without any problems.

Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that Bailey is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Wednesday, at which point he could be cleared for a simulated game or perhaps even a minor-league rehab assignment.

A rehab stint would start the 30-day clock on his return ticking and Bailey guessed that he’d probably be asked to make 6-7 appearances in the minors before coming off the disabled list. Whether he’d return as the Red Sox’s closer is unclear, but either way Boston’s bullpen can certainly use the help from a pitcher who, between injuries, has posted a 2.07 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 174 career innings.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.