It took fewer than 30 pitches on Thursday afternoon in Tampa for Tim Wakefield, pitching coach John Farrell and manager Terry Francona to see how the knuckler's back was responding to the recent cortisone shot.
Although rookie Junichi Tazawa is penciled in as Saturday's starter against the White Sox in Chicago, the BoSox may send the old vet to the hill after the side session went successful.
"I think there is" Farrell told the media about the chances of Wakefield starting. "Like anybody coming back from a physical ailment, we just want to be sure we evaluate him [Friday] after [Thursday's] session, similar to what we did [Thursday]. We want to be sure that after [Wednesday's] long toss and more aggressive throwing he was capable of getting on the mound [Thursday], which he was."
Wakefield is having one of his most productive seasons despite missing the majority of the second half of the season. Wake is 11-3 with a 4.12 ERA and earned his first career trip to the annual All-Star game earlier this summer. The 43-year-old is 7-11 in 20 career starts against the Pale Hosers with one save and two holds.
Francona and Farrell will check out Wake again Friday in Chicago before making their final decision, according to the Globe.
"He's able to execute all of his pitches really well. That's not the issue," Francona told the Globe. "But if he shows up and he's limping more so than he was, that's probably not a real good situation to put him in."
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