TAMPA, Fla. -- Andrew Bailey, now with the Yankees, never quite got going during his two years with the Red Sox, thanks to a barrage of health woes. But he reflects fondly on his time in Boston and will be honored to receive his World Series ring at some point this season.
"Oh man, for sure," said Bailey. "I'm really looking forward to it. It means a lot to me. Any time you win a championship, it's special. No matter what you contribute, you're a part of history. Even throwing for half a season is something I'll never forget -- being part of a championship season."
Coming off surgery last July that prevented him from pitching for the Red Sox in the postseason, Bailey will likely return at some point during the second half of the season.
The Red Sox acquired Bailey to be their closer prior to the 2012 season, but a right thumb injury had him on the disabled list just before Opening Day. Last year, he started as the setup man and became the closer for a while, only to lose the job during a slump and then lose his season thanks to significant shoulder issues.
Though some players leave the team during prolonged injury rehabs, particularly when they will soon be free agents, Bailey was a frequent presence in Boston's clubhouse and dugout for the remainder of the 2013 season.
"Before I got hurt in May, I really felt like myself again," said Bailey. "Thought I was going to have a great year. I had a hiccup and then kind of grinded through the next six weeks until [my shoulder] went. And also, them affording me the opportunity to heal up at home for a couple of weeks and then be with the team all the way through September and through the playoffs was special. They didn't have to do that. I really acknowledge that they let me do that and they wanted me there and the guys wanted me there. It was cool to be a part of."
Bailey said he considered a return to the Red Sox, but he felt there would ultimately be better opportunities to land a spot in the Yankees' bullpen.
"We had communication throughout the offseason, but I thought the opportunity here was great," Bailey said. "Those guys were awesome. During the offseason, I was going up and working with [Red Sox trainers] once a week at least all the way until pretty much when I signed. We were in constant communication. They had their hands on me. But I thought this was a great opportunity for me and my family at the same time."
Ellsbury calls first reunion 'pretty normal'
TAMPA, Fla. -- Jacoby Ellsbury is going to see a lot of his former team over the next several seasons, but Tuesday marked his first reunion with the Red Sox since the World Series parade back in November.
The Red Sox traveled to Tampa for a Grapefruit League game with the Yankees, but Ellsbury was out of action with a right calf injury.
"It was good. A lot of them I still talk to," said Ellsbury. "Jonny [Gomes], I'm going to see him in the cage, but I trained with him in the offseason. Yeah, it seemed pretty normal."
Ellsbury is the latest cornerstone player to change sides in baseball's marquee rivalry.
"I've always said I enjoyed playing there," said Ellsbury when asked if it was tough to leave Boston. "I have a lot of memories. I spent nine years playing in the organization. That's roughly a third of my life with one team. So definitely a lot of great memories, a lot of friends over there and I still continue to have relationships with those guys down the road."
Meanwhile, the Red Sox are still in the process of determining who will replace Ellsbury in center field. Jackie Bradley Jr., who started Tuesday's game, is competing with veteran Grady Sizemore.
"I think they're both going to do well," Ellsbury said. "They're both going to do great. I trained with Grady last offseason and I know Grady a little bit, and obviously I know Jackie well. He has a bright future, so I wish him the best. I wish both of them the best."
Ellsbury was asked if the Red Sox were given the chance to make a counter offer to New York's seven-year, $153 million megadeal.
"Oh yeah. They knew I enjoyed playing there. They definitely did," said Ellsbury.
Though Ellsbury is quiet by nature, it wouldn't be surprising if he feels a flood of emotions on April 22, when the Yankees play at Fenway for the first time this season. That might also be the day Ellsbury gets his World Series ring. The Red Sox play in New York on April 10.
"I'm looking forward to it, looking forward to the game," Ellsbury said. "I mean, you spend nine years with one organization, drafted by them, went through the Minor League system and everything, so yeah, it'll be different obviously. But I'm definitely excited for the opportunity I have here. I'm definitely blessed to have played in that organization.
"I won two championships. Those are the memories I'm going to have, all the positive stuff. But yeah I feel very fortunate to be over here with these guys, it's a great organization. These guys are hungry, wanting to win."
CC pulling for former teammate Sizemore
TAMPA, Fla. -- They might be rivals now, but they used to be teammates on a team that nearly beat the Red Sox in an epic American League Championship Series back in 2007.
So count Yankees ace CC Sabathia among those rooting for Grady Sizemore in his comeback attempt with Boston.
"He was a guy that was 30/30 or 25/25. He was the best center fielder in the game at the time when I played with him, so seeing him back, hopefully he's healthy, and I think he'll be good," said Sabathia.
Sabathia wasn't stunned to see the many highlights Sizemore produced in Monday's nationally televised game against the Cardinals.
"It's just because he's such a good athlete, it's not really surprising to me," Sabathia said. "He was so much fun to watch when I played with him. He was young and full of so energy and would kind of take over the game. It was just fun to watch.
Sizemore will play a Minor League game on Wednesday and return to Boston's lineup on Thursday night against the Yankees.
Doubront battles mechanics in rough outing
TAMPA, Fla. -- Red Sox manager John Farrell suspected that Felix Doubront might have been suffering with that typical dead arm most pitchers go through at some point during Spring Training in Tuesday's sub-par effort against the Yankees.
But the lefty said his problems were more mechanical than physical.
"I didn't feel the grip," said Doubront. "My changeup was bad. I left the pitch over the plate. One of those days."
Over 3 2/3 innings, Doubront was pounded for 10 hits and seven runs. He walked three and struck out two.
Doubront had fired six scoreless innings over his first two outings.
"Delivery was a little bit tough because my release points and my mechanics weren't right," Doubront said. "I don't know if it's too fast or too slow but it was better for a couple of pitches, then I went back to the wrong mechanics. It's a thing I have to work on."