On Saturday night, 43-year-old Tim Wakefield will try to resurrect his All-Star season as he tests his ailing left calf in a rehab start for the PawSox.
(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
Wake, who threw 51 pitches in a simulated game on Monday at Fenway Park, is expected to throw 3 to 4 innings for the PawSox on Saturday. If things go well, he hopes to return to Boston for his following start.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Wakefield told reporters on Tuesday. “I’m excited – let’s test it out in a live game situation. I think I’m ready to pitch now, but if I go out there and something happens, it (messes up) the whole team. I just think this is the right thing to do as far as making sure I’m absolutely ready.”
In a sense, Wakefield has come full-circle because Pawtucket is where he resurrected his career in 1995.
After 14 mostly-successful seasons in Boston, we forget how close Wakefield was to being out of baseball at the age of 28.
In 1994, he was arguably the worst pitcher in the International League when he went 5-15 with a 5.84 ERA for Buffalo. Wakefield finished with more walks (98) than strikeouts (83) and coughed up a league-high 27 home runs.
The following year, the Pirates gave up on Wake and released him on April 20th.
Six days later, the Red Sox signed Tim and sent him to Pawtucket where he quickly rediscovered the form that had made him a rookie sensation with Pittsburgh three years earlier.
Wakefield made 4 starts for Pawtucket in 2005, going 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA. One of his catchers with the PawSox was current Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge.
His success with Pawtucket led to a promotion to Boston where Wakefield went 16-8 with a 2.95 ERA and helped the Red Sox win a division title.
After a weekend pit stop with Pawtucket, will see if Wake can help the Red Sox qualify for the postseason again.
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Wakefield won’t be the only player joining the PawSox on rehab this Saturday – he’ll bring his personal catcher George Kottaras.
Kottaras, who went on the disabled list due to back spasms on August 1st, will make his first appearance with the PawSox this year after spending most of the last two seasons with the team.
It will be interesting to see if he returns to Boston when Wakefield makes his next major league start, or if Jason Varitek or Victor Martinez will take on the added responsibility of catching the knuckleball.
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In the first 45 games of the season, Pawtucket pitchers tossed 9 shutouts.
69 games later, PawSox hurlers finally tossed shutout #10 in Tuesday’s 4-0 win over the Charlotte Knights.
Michael Bowden got the win as he threw 5.1 scoreless innings to beat 2-time All-Star Freddy Garcia. The 22-year-old righty improved to 4-5 with a 3.23 ERA.
A key to the victory was great defense as the PawSox turned a season-high 4 double plays and only one was on a groundout.
In the first inning, Brian Anderson caught a line drive in shallow center field and gunned down a runner who tried to tag up and score from third base.
In the third inning, Aaron Bates caught a screaming liner at first base and stepped on the bag to double up a runner who was leading off.
In the first eighth inning, Chris Duncan made a diving catch in left field and fired to second base to catch a runner who gambled that he wouldn’t be able to catch it.
It added up to Pawtucket’s second straight win over Charlotte. If the PawSox can win one of the final two games of this series, they’ll end a streak of 14 series without a victory.
I hope you’ll join us for the radio call on Wednesday night beginning with the pre-game show at 7:00 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.