SEATTLE — Andrew Bailey’s long road back to the majors is almost over.
Bailey rejoined the club on Friday, and he could be activated as soon as Saturday. He last pitched in the majors on April 9, the first week of the season. Since then, he’s fought shoulder trouble.
“It’s obviously been a long year for me,” Bailey said. “Ups and downs physically. Working my way back and trying to fit in where I can.”
Bailey began pitching in the minors in mid-July. His first four outings didn’t go well, so Bailey returned to Southern California for a break.
“I just needed to take a step back,” he said. “I wanted to be back out there and I tried to rush some things. I just went through some stuff. I took a step back and got checked out and went back and felt pretty good.”
Bailey returned to Triple-A after about a week. After one rough outing, he had three straight scoreless games, including on Thursday night.
“He’s healthy,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “His shoulder felt good. His back felt good. The velocity picked up. Hopefully he’s back and throwing the ball like he did before.”
Scioscia wouldn’t say exactly how the Angels will use Bailey initially. He was supposed to be one of their late-inning pitchers to protect leads, but he’ll need to earn his way into that role now.
“We’ll work him in,” Scioscia said. “Get his feet on the ground and see exactly where he is.”
Bud Norris appears to have worked his way out of being the Angels closer. After struggling trying to close a few games, on Thursday night Norris was called on to pitch the eighth, setting up for Cam Bedrosian. He gave up three runs, and after the game Scioscia said Norris is going to “take a half step back” while they re-evaluate him.
On Friday, Scioscia said the process is ongoing.
“We’ve looked at a couple evaluations that were done on some of his pitch selection and location,” Scioscia said. “We’re going to continue to digest that, and hopefully make adjustments that will get him back where he needs to be.”
Norris, 32, was a starter for almost his whole career. He made the Angels as a non-roster invitee, initially working as a long man in the bullpen. He pitched well enough to climb the ladder until he was the closer. He had converted 15 of 17 save opportunities, with a 2.23 ERA, until July 23. In five games since then, he’s allowed nine runs in 3-2/3 innings, including two grand slams.
“I think he’s handled the…