Andrew Bailey “real close” to making Red Sox debut

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Andrew Bailey has been on the disabled list all season following a spring training thumb injury, but the Red Sox reliever is on the verge of returning after making back-to-back Triple-A appearances Wednesday and Thursday.

Overall on his minor-league rehab assignment Bailey has allowed one run in five innings with a 9/1 K/BB ratio and Justin Albers of MLB.com reports that his fastball was clocked as high as 94 miles per hour, so performance-wise he certainly looks ready to face big-league hitters again.

Or as Bailey put it in a radio interview with WEEI: “I feel real close.”

Bailey was acquired from the A’s for Josh Reddick and two prospects in December after serving as Oakland’s closer for the past three seasons, but it’s unclear if manager Bobby Valentine will immediately throw him into the ninth-inning role or stick with Alfredo Aceves as closer.

Indians sign Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.

Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.

Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.