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07/28/10 8:30 PM ET

Bailey may return for finale in Texas

ARLINGTON -- A's closer Andrew Bailey, still nursing an upper back strain, was unavailable for the seventh consecutive game Wednesday but could potentially be back on the mound for Thursday's series finale with the Rangers.

Bailey, sidelined since July 20, when he tossed two innings against the Red Sox, threw long toss out to a distance of 240 feet and endured a 15-pitch side session on Wednesday. The A's righty confirmed all went well, but he understands the club's decision in being patient with his return.

"Physically, I feel good," Bailey said, "but it's one of those things you don't want to rush."

The two-time All-Star has not allowed a run in 13 of his past 15 appearances, a span in which he's compiled a 1.10 ERA. He has a 1.56 mark on the season, good for sixth lowest among American League relievers.

Geren said there has been no mention of the disabled list, as he believes Bailey is "very close" to being available out of the bullpen again.

A's near deal with top Draft pick Choice

ARLINGTON -- The A's are "very close" to inking a deal with first-round Draft pick Michael Choice and could announce the signing as early as Thursday, according to a baseball source.

The A's have not confirmed the deal, but according to Choice's agent, Jeff Frye, the agreement is worth $2 million, pending a physical.

Choice, Frye said, is scheduled to be at the Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday, when the A's close out a three-game set with the Rangers. The 20-year-old outfielder, who grew up nearby and went to the University of Texas at Arlington, would be just the second player out of this year's top 10 picks to reach a deal -- the other being Christian Colon, drafted fourth overall by the Royals.

Choice, a 20-year-old outfielder, has what A's scouting director Eric Kubota deems "a college bat that comes with upside. Tremendous power potential."

The organization expects Choice's large dose of power to nicely complement his impressive abilities in center field, where he hopes to remain as his professional career begins.

He owns the all-time home run record at Arlington, where he averaged a long ball every 17.8 at-bats and was subsequently named a junior All-American. In 60 games for the Mavericks this year, he hit .383 to go along with a .568 on-base percentage and .704 slugging mark. He struck out just 54 times while managing 76 walks.

Worth noting

Lefty Brett Anderson threw a successful 40-pitch side session on Wednesday, giving the A's the green light to activate him from the disabled list on Friday for a start in Chicago. It will mark his first start since June 3, when he went down for the second time of the year with elbow tendinitis. ... Conor Jackson (hamstring) is progressing with running activities in Arizona, Geren said Wednesday, but there is still no timetable for a Minor League rehab assignment. ... Travis Buck (leg soreness) is batting .154 (4-for-26) with four RBIs through seven games with Triple-A Sacramento. Geren said Buck would need a minimum of seven contests under his belt before being considered to rejoin the A's, but when asked Wednesday if the outfielder could potentially be returning soon, the A's manager said, "That will be decided when he's proven he's completely healthy."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.