Tim Wakefield has been scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday against the Rays because his back is acting up. He will be evaluated on Monday.
Wakefield went on the disabled list in July when he woke up in Texas feeling pains in his back, and Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters today that after a strong start this past Wednesday against the White Sox 43-year-old was now dealing with similar pain.
"Remember back in Texas when this first started with Wake and his lower back or his lower buttocks -- wherever it was -- kind of locked him up, Francona said. "Thatís happened again. He was initially a little but tender after his start, which I think we all thought he would be. Then we wanted to wait a day and see if he got better, then today he came in and he was really sore."
Wakefield's absence plus the wet weather and Monday's off day all throw a serious wrench into the Red Sox rotation for the next few days.
Francona decided to throw Clay Clay Buchholz tonight, and if rain cancels tonight's game, then Buchholz would throw tomorrow. The Sox would have Monday off, and Jon Lester would throw Tuesday.
"Regardless of what happens heís going to pitch Tuesday. If we play tonight, which we hope we do, Buck pitches. Then weíll announces a starter tomorrow. If we donít play tonight Buck will pitch tomorrow.
Paul Byrd, who last pitched on Tuesday, is a prime candidate to start tomorrow if tonight's game is played.
"With the day off weíll have some announcements on our probables as its appropriate," Francona said.
As for Wakefield, Francona said he was obviously concerned.
"There has to be some concern, because heís miserable," Francona said. "And itís the weekend, so thereís some things medically that can be done but not today. I think the best thing they can do right now is try to get him to relax so the spasming can somewhat maybe die down which would help and then Monday we can get him over to see the appropriate people.
"Thereís some talk and weíve talked about this before about whether he needs an epidural. I donít care who you are, theyíre not going to do that on a Saturday or a Sunday. Itís not going to happen. So that is available if need be, but we also need to check with the doctors to make sure thatís the appropriate step. If it is, weíll get it done, which would give him a lot of relief. That would be the hope."