Potential key 'pen piece Bailey sharp in return

Former closer throws scoreless inning in first action since April

Potential key 'pen piece Bailey sharp in return

Andrew Bailey completed his long road back to the Majors on Tuesday night, tossing a scoreless inning in the Angels' 3-1 series-opening loss to the Nationals at Nationals Park.

Bailey, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Saturday after missing four months with right shoulder inflammation, came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth, marking his first outing for the Angels since April 9.

Ryan Zimmerman flied out to center field to start the inning before Anthony Rendon shot a first-pitch cutter from Bailey to left for a single. Bailey then induced a groundout from Matt Wieters and a flyout from Michael A. Taylor to emerge unscathed.

"Any time you do something you haven't done something in a while, you're going to be a little anxious," Bailey said. "I was excited to get back out there. These boys have been grinding all year long. I just want to fit in wherever I can. For me to get back out there today was a big step for me personally."

Bailey joined the Angels on a Minor League deal last summer and pitched well over the final month of the season, logging a 2.38 ERA with six saves in 12 September appearances. His performance earned him a one-year, $1 million deal with the Angels and the chance to compete to be the club's closer during Spring Training.

But Bailey made only three appearances during the first week of the regular season before landing on the DL with shoulder issues, which have plagued him throughout his career.

He began pitching in Minor League games in mid-July, but struggled over his first four outings, prompting the Angels to recall him from his rehab assignment. After a one-week break, Bailey rejoined Triple-A Salt Lake and got back on track, posting three scoreless innings in his final three rehab appearances.

"I feel good," Bailey said. "I wouldn't be back here if I didn't. I'm just thankful. Sometimes you have to just trust the process. Unfortunately it takes a little bit longer than you want sometimes. I'm happy to be back, for sure."

Now healthy, Bailey has the potential to be an impactful bullpen piece for the Angels down the stretch, but he'll have to earn his way back into their back-end mix, just as he did a year ago.

"I'm just getting back out there, getting my feet wet," Bailey said. "We'll see what happens from here on out."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.