The two-time All-Star made another rehab outing for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday, but A's manager Bob Geren suggested Bailey could return to the team during its six-game homestand against the Orioles and Yankees.
"He's obviously getting closer and closer each time out, and the good thing about him is we've spoken after every outing to see how he feels," Geren said. "He definitely wanted to go again, so he'll go [on Friday]."
Bailey has already made three outings for Sacramento, pitching an inning each time. He has allowed just one hit and no runs during his rehab stint, but is still working on his command, as he has hit two batters and walked another.
Bailey hasn't yet pitched in a closer's role, twice throwing in the seventh inning and then tossing in the fourth during his last outing. But Geren said it doesn't matter when Bailey pitches, as long as he stays with his routine.
"The problem with telling him he has to throw in the ninth or that he has to close is that when you have somebody on a rehab assignment, you don't always know what the score is going to be or what the situation is going to dictate," Geren said. "You just pencil him [for] an inning, then you use him late in the game and go.
"All my reports on him have been velocity, command, hits, innings pitched, walks, how he felt. What actual inning he has thrown wasn't something I've paid attention to, either. It isn't really relevant."