Wake to the rescue?
While Brad Penny was getting shelled by the Yankees — to the tune of 10 hits and eight runs over four-plus innings — Tim Wakefield was making perhaps his final step toward re-claiming his spot in the Boston Red Sox’s pitching rotation.
The veteran knuckleballer, pitching at Triple-A Pawtucket, allowed two hits and one run in a start against Rochester.
Wakefield walked one and struck out four and could slide back into the Boston rotation as early as Wednesday — Penny’s next scheduled start. Wakefield could also pitch Thursday in place of Junichi Tazawa.
At any rate, the Red Sox have badly missed Wakefield during his time on the disabled list. The 43-year-old right-hander went 11-3 with a 4.31 ERA in 17 starts before the All-Star break.
While Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have been tremendous at the top of the rotation, the Red Sox have struggled to get quality starts in the 3-5 spots, though Clay Buchholz has emerged with three strong performances in a row.
Wakefield was first placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain, but it then became a nerve issue which caused weakness in his left calf. The concern with Wakefield the last couple of weeks is whether he could field his position effectively, and without risking further injury.
The Red Sox could reveal as early as Saturday when the veteran will return to the rotation.