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Wakefield out - for one turn

Miller will start Friday vs. Texas

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / August 31, 2011

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Tim Wakefield was called into the office of manager Terry Francona yesterday and told he was being taken out of the rotation. But for now, it’s only for one turn.

Andrew Miller will take Wakefield’s spot and start against Texas Friday night. But Wakefield will get a start during the four-game series in Toronto next week.

Erik Bedard and John Lackey will follow Miller in the Rangers series.

Wakefield is 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA in seven starts since winning his last game July 24. The 45-year-old lasted only four innings against Oakland last Friday, giving up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks.

Wakefield is one victory shy of 200 for his career.

“I know what’s on the line with him personally,’’ said Francona. “I’m very aware of that. I think it’s my responsibility to always try to put our team in the best position. So that’s what we’ll do.’’

Miller (6-1) lost his spot in the rotation earlier this month but pitched well in two recent spot starts, allowing one earned run over 11 2/3 innings. He threw 6 1/3 shutout innings against Texas last Thursday.

“What he can do is pretty exciting and we want to give him a legitimate chance to do that,’’ Francona said. “We gave him that time off because he was struggling a little bit. He came back and threw the ball pretty well.’’

Buchholz throwing Clay Buchholz was on the field nearly five hours before the game playing catch with head athletic trainer Mike Reinold. It was the first step in what Francona described several times as a “deliberate’’ throwing program.

Buchholz has been out since mid-June with a stress fracture in his lower back. The Sox are hoping he can regain enough arm strength to return as a reliever late in the season.

“Whether this turns into him pitching or not, we don’t know,’’ Francona said. “But it’s still exciting, the fact he’s done so well to this point.’’

Buchholz made 25 throws from 60 feet in the outfield.

“It was something that I’d been waiting to do for a couple months now,’’ he said. “No pain, no nothing.

“So we’ll take tomorrow off and then stick with the program I’ve been doing. It’s going to be like an every-other-day thing of throwing, working my way up to getting out to 90 feet, 100 feet, 120 feet, and then go from there.’’

Buchholz has been doing a series of exercises to strengthen his back.

“It was gratifying to go out there and feel good, not feel like something was going to hold me back,’’ he said.

The minor league season will be finished before Buchholz is ready to face hitters. But the Sox could have him work in the Florida Instructional League.

Reinforcements Rosters can be expanded as of tomorrow, and the Sox will make several additions.

J.D. Drew, who started a rehab assignment with Pawtucket last night, is expected to be activated tomorrow, with Kevin Youkilis to follow Friday when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list. Francona said a pitcher would be added, too. That could be lefthander Felix Doubront, whose last two appearances for Pawtucket have been in relief.

Francona said the Sox were not inclined to add a third catcher until Ryan Lavarnway is eligible to return Sept. 6.

Francona said he and general manager Theo Epstein agree that they don’t want players around who aren’t needed.

“If we ever run short, we can get somebody up here the next day,’’ Francona said.

Thumbs down Derek Jeter, who missed two games with a bruised right kneecap, was back in the lineup for the Yankees last night. But Alex Rodriguez may miss the series with a sprained left thumb. He had a cortisone shot Monday.

“Would I be surprised if he didn’t play this series? No,’’ manager Joe Girardi said. “Am I hopeful that we’ll get him? Yes. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t have him.

“You never really know until he takes a swing. He never really complained about it when he wasn’t doing anything. It was when he would swing and it was the pressure that would push the thumb down.’’

Rodriguez was out from July 8 to Aug. 20 because of knee surgery. He’s played four games since (3 for 17 with one RBI).

Chipping in PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley threw out the first pitch last night. The Vermont native and former Hopkinton High School star is a lifelong Sox fan said it was a “dream come true’’ to take the Fenway mound.

“As soon as I pulled into the ballpark, my hands started to sweat,’’ Bradley said. “I started to get butterflies in my stomach. I’ll be very nervous. I practiced two days ago and I threw too long and now my arm feels like it’s going to fall off.’’

Bradley, wearing a Sox hat, threw a strike to Dustin Pedroia.

“I feel great,’’ said Bradley, who will play in the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston this week. “It’s so good to be back in New England and back in front of my family and hometown fans. It’s a perfect time to come home.’’

Salty shaken Jarrod Saltalamacchia was hit on the left arm by a Mariano Rivera pitch in the ninth inning. He stayed in the game.

“It hit me right on the bone but I think it’ll just be sore,’’ he said.

Francona indicated that the catcher, who was not going to be in the lineup tonight regardless, would get checked out to make sure nothing was broken. Girardi was ejected after the play when the umpires rules that Saltalamacchia had not swung the bat when he was hit.

“He clearly swung to me and that’s an important out,’’ Girardi said. “It’s not like to me to blow my top, but these are important games.’’

Young on leave Pitching coach Curt Young will be away from the team for a few days following the death of his father. Bullpen coach Gary Tuck was with Francona in the dugout last night . . . Colorful former Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can’’ Boyd was on the field for batting practice and later was introduced to the crowd . . . Joe Castiglione and Jerry Remy are among the 75 candidates for the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting, along with deceased Sox broadcasters Ken Coleman and Ned Martin. The winner will be announced in December. Castiglione has been calling Sox games on the radio for 29 years, while Remy has been on NESN for 24 seasons. Coleman, who died in 2003, was with the Red Sox from 1965-75 and again from 1979-89. Martin, who died in 2002, called games from 1961-92 . . . The Sox signed 38-year-old lefthander Trever Miller, who was released by Toronto last week. He has a 4.19 ERA in 45 appearances for the Cardinals and Blue Jays this season. He was assigned to Pawtucket.

Amalie Benjamin, Nick Cafardo, and Michael Vega of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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