Catching up on several dinged Sox, including an outline for Daisuke Matsuzaka’s return:
– Tim Wakefield will pitch Friday in Pawtucket and throw 75-80 pitches, which is “open to adjustment if need be,” Francona said. If all goes well, Wakefield’s next start could come with Boston. Wakefield received a comprehensive evaluation on the nerve condition in his back, which Francona spelled out in detail.
“He’s not going to hurt himself by pitching,” Francona said. “I mean, anybody can be hurt any time. But he’s not endangering himself by pitching. He’s not endangering his potential recovery of leg strength by waiting until October if – IF – a surgical procedure is needed. And again, these are big ifs. Wake was satisfied and reassured by the call.
“Now, saying that, he’s still got a lot of deficit in that calf. And to have him in a major league game, if he lands on that thing 75, 80 times, or if he goes to cover first, there are some things that can go wrong. If we put him in a Triple A game, we feel like it’s still a game, and there’s going to be people trying to beat him, and he has to do some reaction things like he has to do here. If things don’t go well, we can always take him out of a game. And if they do go well, then we can bring him back and have him pitch for us.”
– The Sox also have a rough timetable in place for Daisuke Matsuzaka. He will throw another side session Friday, and Monday will throw two or three innings in a Gulf Coast League game. On Aug. 29, he is schedule to throw about 50 pitches in a start for Double A Portland. On Sept. 3, the plan calls for him to throw roughly 65 pitches at Triple A Pawtucket.
Following that schedule, Sept. 8 could be the first day Matsuzaka for the Red Sox, although they could wait until Sept. 9 because they are off the next day, thereby giving the bullpen a break after Matsuzaka’s first start back.
– Jason Varitek remained out of the lineup with muscle spasms in his neck. As he explained last night, Varitek had dealt with the neck problem for a couple months, but it locked up on him badly last night. Varitek got a neck adjustment from a team trainer and saw a chiropractor and a massage therapist yesterday. He is day-to-day.
“Jason is minimally better,” Francona said. “I guess that’s better than minimally worse.”
Even though Varitek is out of the lineup tonight, he’ll “absolutely” be available as a backup, he said.
– Rocco Baldelli went 0 for 3 last night in Pawtucket. The PawSox have a doubleheader tonight and a game tomorrow. The Sox plan on Baldelli rejoining the team Friday, the first day he is eligible to come off the disabled list.
– George Kottaras caught for the PawSox last night and went 2 for 4.