|Red Sox Notes: Andrew Miller will start against Texas||08.30.11 at 5:28 pm ET|
As the calendar turns to September, the Red Sox will have a number of decisions to make regarding their pitching staff. The first move — although certainly not the last — involves the rotation for their series with Texas this weekend.
Andrew Miller, who has been sharp since returning to the rotation, will take the mound on Friday followed by Erik Bedard and John Lackey. Sox manager Terry Francona said that Tim Wakefield will pitch against Toronto when the team travels north for a four-game series with the Blue Jays, although the date has not been determined yet.
Miller has allowed just one run and six hits in his last two starts and is coming off his best outing this season — against the Rangers — when he threw 6 1/3 innings of three-hit shutout baseball. Wakefield, meanwhile, has struggled allowing 12 runs — eight earned — in his last two starts and has been sitting on 199 career wins since July 24.
“There’s a lot to think about,” Francona said. “Some of what [Miller] can do is pretty exciting and we want to give him a legitimate chance to do that. We gave him that time off because he was struggling a little bit. He came back and really threw the ball pretty well. What we’ve asked of Wake this year, he’s done exactly what we’ve asked. I know what’s on the line with him personally. I’m very aware of that. I think it’s my responsibility to always try to put our team in the best position, so that’s what we’ll do.”
Francona said that Wakefield could pitch out of the bullpen if needed and that flexibility will allow him to line up Wakefield and the rest of the rotation as needed. With 23 games in the next 23 days, including a Sept. 19 doubleheader, the Sox will likely have a need for all six of their starters down the stretch.
- Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew are expected to play for Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday and Wednesday against Rochester. According to Francona, one will play in the field and the other will DH and then switch roles for the second game.
Drew is scheduled to rejoin the team on Thursday when rosters are expanded. Youkilis will be eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday and Francona expects he will back with no restrictions.
- Bobby Jenks was scratched from his schedule rehab appearance in Single-A Salem over the weekend and is back with the team for evaluation. Francona said that Jenks was sick and then Hurricane Irene squelched plans for him to join Pawtucket.
- The Sox aren’t likely to add too much to their roster when they expand from 25 to 40 players on Thursday.
“We get J.D. back. That’s an outfielder,” Francona said. “We get Youk the next day. That’s an infielder. We definitely want to get a pitcher here. Other than that I think we’ll take it day by day.”
The Sox can also get Ryan Lavarnway back on Sept. 5. He was optioned on Aug. 26 to make room for Scott Atchison. While the Sox are most intrigued by his hitting ability, he could also serve as a third catcher.
Francona said that he and GM Theo Epstein were on the same page regarding their September roster philosophy. They don’t want to add players without a role.
“You never want to get caught short. At the same time just calling guys just to put them in the bullpen or to sit on the bench, I’m not sure that’s in anybody’s best interest,” Francona said. “If we ever run short we can get somebody up here the next day and these guys can continue to do what they’re doing.”
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