FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield just spoke to the assembled media and said that when the season begins, he plans to be in the starting rotation.
“I’ll be one of the five starters,” Wakefield said. “As long as I’m healthy during spring training, no setbacks, when we start the season, I’ll think I’ll be one of the five.” It appears the Sox brass is looking forward to having him in the starting rotation as well. “I think Theo [Epstein] and Tito [Francona] and John [Farrell] all feel like we’re a better team with me in the rotation. I eat up innings. I do whatever it takes to help us win, and I think we agreed on that aspect.”
Wakefield said his back feels normal now that he has recovered from back surgery. “It was a hard winter for me, going to rehab five days a week, but my therapist in Florida did a great job getting me back to normalcy, and being on the field today for the first time, everything feels good…. Everything feels great, I’m not having any hiccups.”
The veteran hurler said he has no regrets about trying to pitch through the pain last season.
“I have no regrets, I did everything I needed to do to stay on the field and help us win.”
Wake was not concerned that he could find himself the odd man out if the Sox leave camp with six healthy starters. “Does that ever happen, that we have six healthy starters come the regular season?” he asked. “We’ll let spring play itself out and then we’ll see come April 1.”
The veteran righthander, who at 43 is just 18 wins shy of breaking the Red Sox record, 192, held jointly by old friend Roger Clemens and Cy Young, has set a target of starting 30 games this year. “That’s my goal coming into spring training every year,” he said. “Stay healthy every year make my 30 starts and see where it happens in the end.”