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Wakefield scratched; Tavarez to start

Posted by Daniel Malloy, Globe Correspondent  August 31, 2007 05:16 PM

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Tim Wakefield has been scratched from tonight's start because of a sore back. Julian Tavarez will move from his scheduled tomorrow to tonight. Kevin Cash will remain in the lineup at catcher.

Wakefield, according to Red Sox PR honcho John Blake, will undergo further treatment and evaluation, and is expected to miss just one turn in the rotation. Wakefield hasn't allowed a run in 22 straight innings, becoming one of the most dominant pitchers in the league of late. He's 16-10 with a 4.16 ERA in 26 starts. Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy notes that Wakefield was in the outfield earlier working with pitching coach John Farrell, not his usual routine. Perhaps they were testing out his back.

Tomorrow's starter has not been named and an announcement should come after the game. All signs point to Clay Buchholz as the man, though. The Sox wouldn't want to change the order of the ensuing rotation, and Buchholz last pitched Monday for Pawtucket, giving him the standard four days' rest to go tomorrow. The Sept. 1 roster expansion allows this to be a simple potential move.

Buchholz started for the Sox on Aug. 17 against the Angels, pitching the early game in a day-night doubleheader. He allowed four runs (three earned) over six innings. Since returning to Pawtucket, though, he has struggled a bit, allowing six earned runs over 8 1/3 innings in two starts. We'll let you know more as soon as we do.

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