Andrew Bailey's first taste of the majors came when he would ride with his family across the Delaware River to watch the Phillies teams of the 1990s at Veterans Stadium. Bailey grew up in Haddon Heights. He was 9 years old in 1993, when the Phillies won the pennant. Darren Daulton was his favorite player and Bailey recalls the way Mickey Morandini's name was announced.
And on Wednesday afternoon - for the first time in Bailey's career - the fan from South Jersey wore a Phillies uniform in South Philadelphia.
"I was very fortunate to wear a lot of prestigious big-league uniforms with Oakland and the Red Sox and Yankees," Bailey said after he was promoted from triple-A Lehigh Valley as lefthander James Russell was designated for assignment. "But for me, this is the team [I grew up with]. It's definitely special to me. The Phillies have a rich history of winning. Hopefully we can bring that back."
Bailey, who attended Paul VI High School, was one of baseball's elite closers before a severe shoulder injury threatened his career. The 31-year-old signed with the Phillies in December and was one of the last players sent to the minors at the end of spring training.
He allowed a run on four hits in five innings with the IronPigs. The righthander struck out 10 batters and walked two. Pete Mackanin said the Phillies would see what role Bailey fits into. Bailey was an all-star with the A's in 2009 and 2010. He eventually could become the closer.
"I think going down to triple A helped me out a little bit in being able to continue to gain strength and momentum from spring training," Bailey said. "I feel ready to go, ready to rock. I feel significantly better than spring training. We just had to tune up some things down there."
Pete Mackanin had never batted his pitcher eighth until he slotted Jeremy Hellickson into that spot on Wednesday night and dropped Peter Bourjos to No. 9. The manager said he does not expect the shake-up to be a long-term configuration.
"I never really had anyone convince me why that's a good idea," Mackanin said. ". . . But, I looked at the lineup today and thought: Why not today? Because it made sense with Bourjos not really swinging the bat well right now. If he was hitting .260, .270, I wouldn't do it. Whether it's right or wrong, I'm trying something different."
Bourjos entered Wednesday batting .167 with a .186 on-base percentage in his first 42 at-bats. It was the first time a pitcher did not bat ninth for the Phillies since Steve Carlton batted eighth on June 1, 1979.