For one day, at least, Billy Wagner stopped feeling like a part-time reliever. Ever the competitor, Wagner had become a little antsy at not being permitted by the Red Sox to pitch on back-to-back days, even if he was only a year removed from Tommy John ligament transfer surgery.
On Friday, Wagner worked for the second straight night, retiring two batters and throwing eight pitches.
“I think it’s something you need to go through. I think it puts their mind at ease,” said Wagner. “I felt strong all along. They wanted to play it cautious. We’ve got a deep bullpen and they didn’t want to sit there and feel like they had to use me more than they needed to. This was just, I think, peace of mind.”
It was a little odd for Wagner to have to give manager Terry Francona the ball after facing just two batters.
“Well, of course. I’m used to finishing my own innings. But it’s a different role. Just hand him the ball and walk off,” said Wagner. “That’s his decision. I don’t question him.”