Tim Wakefield waited 16 days for Monday night's start, an ordeal that took place only after several other ordeals. He threw bullpen sessions, underwent strength test, and received a cortisone shot. He had to maintain the strength in his leg, and then he had to prove he had maintained the strength.
How much longer will the next wait be? It is clear Wakefield has not rejoined the starting rotation, but merely made a cameo in the group he anchored at one point early this season. The Sox will convene with Wakefield on Tuesday and try to determine a plan.
“That’s the part that we have to keep on answering,” manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think it’s realistic that he would go every five days like everybody else.”
Wakefield endured his preparation for last just so he could hobble around the mound and throw knuckleballs during a rain storm, so he could boost the Red Sox rotation and allow Josh Beckett an extra day of rest, so he could try to prove to the Red Sox he can still be a viable piece of the rotation, no matter the obvious the fragmented disc in his back is causing.
"We definitely appreciate it," Kevin Youkilis said.
The result was not pretty, for Wakefield or for the Sox. The bullpen squandered the game, a 12-9 loss to the hapless Kansas City Royals, but Wakefield helped set them up. He allowed five runs on five hits -- including a three-run homer by Mike Jacobs -- and seven walks, matching the most he has allowed in his Red Sox tenure. He limped home to cover the plate once, taking care as he slowed from his already slow sprint.
“It feels as good as it looks,” Wakefield said. “Put it that way.”