A’s closer Andrew Bailey could begin rehab assignment soon

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Oakland closer Andrew Bailey took another step in the right direction on Saturday in Arizona.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the right-handed reliever tossed 18 pitches in an extended spring training game and reported no abnormal pain or discomfort in his once-injured right forearm. He touched 94 mph with his fastball and recorded four outs.

Bailey is now headed back to Oakland to meet with team physicians for a reevaluation. If his arm checks out fine, it’s likely that he will be shipped off to one of the Athletics’ minor league affiliates early this week to begin a rehab assignment.

Bailey has been on the disabled list since the start of the regular season. Once healthy, he should almost immediately reclaim ninth inning duties from Brian Fuentes, who tallied his ninth save last week.