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A's closer Bailey gets good news about elbow injury

PHOENIX (Reuters) - The Oakland Athletics breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday when closing pitcher Andrew Bailey was cleared of serious injury, although he may still miss the start of the Major League Baseball season.

Bailey left the mound at a spring training camp in Arizona on Monday clutching his arm in pain, raising fears he was badly hurt just two weeks before the regular season begins.

The two-time All-Star was examined by Alabama surgeon James Andrews on Tuesday and tests showed he had only strained his forearm.

"That's about as good of news as you can expect," Oakland manager Bob Geren told the MLB's official website.

The A's had feared the worst given Bailey's injury history, which including a Tommy John surgery, a procedure where elbow ligaments are replaced by tendons, in 2005.

The 26-year-old right-hander was brought along slowly this spring after undergoing cleanup surgery, done by Andrews, on his troublesome two weeks before the end of last season.

Four-time All-Star Brian Fuentes and Australian Grant Balfour, both off-season acquisitions, were expected to help fill in until Bailey was able to return.

(Writing by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Julian Linden)