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Molina on catching Wake: ‘I’ll be ready

06.29.10 at 3:52 pm ET
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This is Gustavo Molina’s first rodeo, or knuckleball.

When the 28-year-old went out to the Red Sox bullpen to catch Tim Wakefield Tuesday afternoon it wasn’t his initial go-round with the knuckleballer, having caught “a few” of the pitcher’s side sessions during spring training. But even before joining the Sox organization for this season, Molina had experience catching the knuckleball thanks to his time in the White Sox‘ minor league system.

“I caught Charlie Haeger in the minors,” said Molina after his stint with Wakefield. “[Wakefield's] got more control. I also think a difference is that Charlie Haeger throws a little bit harder. But Wakefield is one of the best, that’s why he’s been in this game for a long time.

“It’s kind of a challenge. I’ll be ready for the next start.”

While it isn’t set in stone that Molina will catch Wakefield in the pitcher’s start Friday night against the Orioles at Fenway Park, that is the likelihood now that Victor Martinez is on the 15-day disabled list with a broken finger on his left hand.

Molina pointed out that one of the benefits that he didn’t possess when catching Haeger for two seasons in Chicago’s system was the guidance of catching instructor Gary Tuck. Since his arrival with the Red Sox, Tuck has tutored the various catchers on the Red Sox as to a specific way to catch Wakefield and his knuckleball.

“You have to figure it out yourself, but you need a base to start from,” Molina said. “That pitch moves a lot. But it went well. I just have to get ready for the next start.”

Molina’s major league experience consists of 19 games, with his last appearance in the big leagues coming via a two-game stretch with the Mets in 2008.

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