|Wakefield: ‘I plan on being one of the five starters’||01.27.10 at 9:26 am ET|
Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield told a Comcast TV interviewer at the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT) Awards in New York on Tuesday that he is in good health and plans on being a member of the Red Sox rotation in 2010. Wakefield said that he received positive medical reports from the Red Sox team doctor and trainer on Monday, and that he is currently “right back on track with my normal offseason routine.”
“I plan on being one of the five [Red Sox] starters,” Wakefield, who was honored for his career-long commitment to community service, said in the interview. “Obviously, I think there were some questions marks that were relieved yesterday. I went to see the doctor, met with the trainer yesterday. They did some testing, and were very surprised at my strength, how quickly it came back.
“I feel great,” Wakefield added. “I finished my rehab a couple of weeks ago. Right back on schedule as far as my offseason conditioning and throwing program, and I feel like there won’t be any setbacks when I go to spring training.”
Wakefield elaborated in comments made to the Boston Herald. The veteran of 15 seasons with the Red Sox season made clear that he believes he should be a full-time starter, and seemed to dismiss the notion that there could be uncertainty surrounding his role.
“Hopefully they respect me enough to give me the ball when we get to spring training as a member of this rotation. I think I’ve earned the right to be a full-time starter and go from there,” he told the Herald. “I did make the All-Star team last year. It seems every year, and I don’t know why, my name gets brought up like this when I don’t feel I need to prove myself every day. I don’t know where the rumors are coming from, but I try not to pay attention. I know my role and I know what my approach is going to be when I get to spring training: be a starter and help us win the World Series.”
Wakefield went 11-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 21 starts in 2009. He made his first career All-Star team after carrying an 11-3 record into the break, but then a bulging disc in his lower back that pressed on his sciatic nerve permitted him to make just four starts in the second half.
Wakefield underwent surgery to repair the disc shortly after the Sox were swept out of the playoffs by the Angels. After the season, he agreed to a restructured deal with the Sox, replacing his repeating $4 million club options with a two-year deal for a guaranteed $5 million.
With the signing of John Lackey this offseason, however, the Sox would appear to have a potential surplus of starters, given the presence of Wakefield, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz. Sox manager Terry Francona, speaking earlier this month at the Boston Baseball Writers dinner, was reluctant to offer a blueprint for how the rotation would take shape at the start of the season, though he did make clear that Wakefield would not be considered for bullpen duty.
“He’s a starter,” said Francona. “How that slots out, we don’t know yet.”
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