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.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.