With Tim Wakefield likely a go for Monday in Kansas City — if he passes a Saturday strength test as expected — Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Josh Beckett will have his scheduled Tuesday start in Kansas City pushed back to Wednesday. Paul Byrd will go Tuesday against the Royals.
Boston is going with a six-man rotation — Beckett, Wakefield, Lester, Buchholz, Matsuzaka and Byrd — for now. And if Beckett gets three more starts this season — Wed at Kansas City, Sept. 28 vs. Toronto and Oct. 3 vs. Cleveland — he would be fully rested to start a potential Game 1 of the ALDS against the Angels on Thursday, Oct. 8.
Francona said there is a “Plan B” if Wakefield (back) is not ready but “I think we feel like Wake’s going to be OK. We really wouldn’t have done (the workout) but I think we feel obligation to check. It’s just the right way to do it. If his strength was down, he wouldn’t have been able to go through the (bullpen workout) the way he did.”
Wakefield tossed 40 pitches Friday at Camden Yards and came out unscathed.
“When we all feel it’s in their best interest, we try to do it,” Francona said of giving starting pitchers an extra day off. “I just think it’s a really good time to give him another day. We targeted a day for Wake anyway. Without a (team) days off now, it gives him an extra day which we think could be to his advantage.”
*Francona said there is no issue with Mike Lowell, but he got the night off because “I wanted to get Kotch enough at-bats to where he could help us.”
*Kevin Youkilis is ready to go after missing three games with back spasms and Francona said he had no apprehensions with placing him in the lineup.
Youkilis is a career .356 hitter at Camden Yards with five homers, 22 RBIs and a 1.006 OPS. It is by far his best average at any opposing park with more than three at-bats.