Oakland Athletics closer Andrew Bailey’s 2011 season is in doubt after leaving yesterday evening’s exhibition game against the Cleveland Indians due to pain in his right elbow that caused him to jump around in obvious discomfort and at one point, fall to the ground clutching his arm.  It can all be seen at MLB.com.

Of course, we have no idea as to the extent of the injury right now, but it should be remembered that Bailey has already had Tommy John surgery back in 2005, and missed some time last year when he had his elbow cleaned up by Dr. James Andrews in September.  Bailey will again visit the doctor today to get a diagnosis on his arm.

While it appears in the video as though Bailey’s pain is coming from his elbow, A’s manager Bob Geren claims that the injury is actually to the pitcher’s forearm, which could also be the result of something going wrong in the elbow.

Prior to Bailey’s injury, it was rumoured that the Athletics and Rays were talking about a trade that would send a reliever to Tampa Bay.

Coming into the offseason, the Athletics already possessed one of the better young bullpens in the league, and over the winter the team added both the extremely underrated Grant Balfour and veteran lefty Brian Fuentes to two year contracts.

Take a look at these numbers from last season.

Brian Fuentes vs. left handed batters: 1.79 FIP, 0.71 WHIP, .132 AVG, 11.57 K/9, 4.50 K/BB.
Craig Breslow vs. left handed batters: 3.50 FIP, 0.96 WHIP, .188 AVG, 9.00 K/9, 3.25 K/BB.

Grant Balfour vs. right handed batters: 2.68 FIP, 0.87 WHIP, .172 AVG, 9.19 K/9, 3.67 K/BB.
Joey Devine vs. right handed batters: 1.34 FIP, 0.66 WHIP, .125 AVG, 11.52 K/9, 5.00 K/BB.
Brad Ziegler vs. right handed batters: 2.70 FIP, 1.01 WHIP, .215 AVG, 7.15 K/9, 3.27 K/BB.

While no one will step in and easily replace Bailey, who over the course of the last two seasons put together a 2.70 FIP, 0.91 WHIP, .182 AVG, 9.05 K/9, 3.59 K/BB against all batters, the A’s could be a lot worse off.  Last year, Oakland’s pitching staff allowed the fewest runs in the American Leauge last year, and it’s hard to imagine that the loss of Bailey alone could change their success that significantly.  Still, no one wants to see such a young pitcher who already has a history of elbow trouble grimacing like that from the mound before the season has even begun.

And The Rest

Speaking of the A’s pitching staff, you’ll be shocked and appalled to learn that reclamation project Rich Harden has suffered yet another setback in his pursuit of a job out of Spring Training.

Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire doesn’t like it when reporters fire his words through the internet.  Nor would he like you to remain on his lawn.

A Major League umpire successfully sued the maker of his face mask for failing to properly protect him.

Bill Hall of the Houston Astros says that Philadelphia Phillies starter Cole Hamels is a marked man after disrespecting him during yesterday’s Spring Training game, by quick pitching Hall and throwing inside.

J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta are looking forward to helping Sandy Alderson turn things around in New York, where the Mets have more than one problem.

Baseball America brings us the fascinating story of Juan Carlos Paniagua, a Dominican prospect whose late blooming arm benefited from MLB discovering his identity fraud.

Getting Blanked contributor Dave Gershman takes a look at whether or not Wade Davis tips his curveball.

Neftali Feliz’s on again off again flirtation with the starting rotation is back on again.

Yesterday we mentioned Michael Pineda’s bright future with the Seattle Mariners.  Well, it seems that future may be starting earlier than expected.

Sticking with the Mariners, the team is reporting a $1.7 million profit despite being one of the worst teams in baseball last season.

Johnny Gomes is popular with just about everyone but stats geeks.  I don’t think Adam Wainwright is such a huge fan either.  But Gomes is probably most popular with pitchers, outside of the one month of the year in which he actually hits the baseball.

Finally, just an official reminder that as Jonah Keri mentioned in yesterday’s FanGraphs chat, the author of The Extra 2% will be joining us at our next Getting Booked (baseball book club) on March 28th at Opera Bob’s.