Jason Varitek was originally in the lineup, but he had to be pulled because of muscles spasms in his neck. Victor Martinez takes over at catcher, Kevin Youkilis moves to first, Mike Lowell moves to third, and David Ortiz will DH.
Tim Wakefield threw another bullpen session before the game, and Victor Martinez caught him. It’s still hard to say when Wakefield will return. Manager Terry Francona said “there’s a pretty good chance” Wakefield will make a rehab start Friday in Pawtucket, adding that Wakefield’s nerve injury in his back will likely require surgery at some point.
“This is a tough decision to make,” Francona said. “I think we all think he can help us on the mound. But there are some other issues involved – fielding your position, is it going to get weaker, is he going to hurt himself in another area? So we’ll do the best we can.
“We all know what’s wrong with him. At some point, he’s probably going to need surgery. If he has surgery this week, we’re probably not going to have him available next week. So, trying to figure out what to do.”
In his side, Wakefield only threw and did not field any balls, but he ran sprints in the outfield when he finished. “It’s getting better,” Wakefield said. “I feel like I am” ready to pitch in a game. “It’s just up to whether or not they want me to.”
If and when Wakefield returns, Martinez will likely become his catcher. Martinez has no prior experience catching the knuckleball, and today was the second he caught Wakefield. Bullpen coach Gary Tuck reported to Francona that Martinez was enthusiastic about the challenge and did well today, even with the roof closed in Rogers Centre, which means the knuckler was dancing more than usual.
Martinez “actually did real well,” Francona said. “Now, it’s the bullpen. If you have to go retrieve it, nobody is running to second.”
Martinez used a bigger glove to catch Wakefield. “I thought it was OK,” Martinez said. “I dropped some balls, but we’ll see. Because of the dome, it moved more than it usually does. I thought it was good. I will do my best, and we’ll see what happens.”
And, finally, J.D. Drew is in the lineup. Francona planned to sit him until tomorrow, but he felt “well enough to play,” Drew said. So he will.