PHILADELPHIA — John Smoltz arrived here this afternoon and met for an extended period of time with manager Terry Francona and pitching coach John Farrell after making his fifth rehab start yesterday with Triple A Pawtucket in Syracuse. The Red Sox will wait to make a decision on his next step.
Smoltz is “in a holding pattern,” he said. He will pitch somehwere Thursday, but the team has not decided if it will be another rehab outing or his Red Sox debut. Smoltz’s 30-day rehab period ends Friday.
Yesterday in Syracuse, Smoltz pitched all six innings (it was a doubleheader) of Pawtucket’s 4-1 loss and allowed four runs on six hits and a walk, striking out six. Smoltz threw 56 strikes in 70 pitches, which manager Terry Francona said is a credit to Smoltz being able to repeat his delivery. Smoltz then threw 15 more pitches in the bullpen to strengthen his stamina. Smoltz feels ready to pitch at the major league level.
“My results were not at all indictative of how I threw,” Smoltz said. “I was very pleased.”
As for the game tonight, the Red Sox have a rough combination brewing: Their bullpen is fatigued from a 13-inning game, and Daisuke Matsuzaka is starting tonight. The solution, as it always seems to be this season for the Red Sox pitching staff, is Tim Wakefield. Today would be his day to throw a side session, but he skipped it and volunteered to pitch as a long reliever if Matsuzaka falters early. Regardless, Wakefield will make his scheduled start Tuesday. Brad Penny also volunteered if necessary, Francona said.
The lineup has a couple changes from yesterday, most notably Julio Lugo at shorstop. Lugo, who had a big single in the Red Sox’ game-winning rally in the 13th last night, last started June 5, eight days ago. Nick Green had become the regular starter.
“He hasn’t played in a while, and I don’t know that that’s in anybody’s best interest,” Francona said. “Even maybe Greenie, giving him a day. It helps everybody.”