FORT MYERS, Fla. — The notion that Tim Wakefield definitely has a place on the roster may not necessarily be true.
Terry Francona was asked a question this morning about the merits of Alfredo Aceves and Tim Wakefield. Here was his response:
"Their styles aren't similar. But they both can pitch out of the bullpen, both can start. We're going to have some interesting decisions to make here come the last week. Fortunately, guys have really shown well. It's going to be interesting. I'm sure Curt [Young] and I and Theo [Epstein] and Ben [Cherington] will sit down as we have been and try to make the best decisions. Not only for Opening Day but for the organization. It's going to be tough."
I asked Francona whether having "interesting decisions" involved Wakefield or whether his place on the team was assured.
His verbatim response:
"I would never sit here and talk about somebody being on the ... I can't do that. That's so disrespectful of players. I would never do that. That would be awful."
Another reporter asked if Aceves and Wakefield could both make the team.
"I'm not going to do that," he said. "I wouldn't do that to those guys. These guys have a stressful couple of weeks ahead of them. I'm not going to make it worse."
As to the difficulty of bullpen decisions, Francona said: "Nobody has really separated themselves in a bad way. Everybody has kind of done what we hoped they'd do. Again. we're going to have decisions to make and it's tough for guys. But I think it's a good way to set up your team. Any time we have a chance to aggravate somebody, that means something is going right."
Make of that what you will.
Wakefield pitches tonight against the Rays. In three games this spring, he has thrown 6.2 innings and allowed one earned run on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. The 44-year-old knuckleballer has a $2 million contract for this season.
In other news:
• Ryan Kalish will leave the team Saturday to join his family in Boston following the death of his grandfather.
• Luis Exposito is the father of a baby girl. Once he returns, he will be formally reassigned to the minor league camp.