Red Sox manager Terry Francona confirmed the move in the moments after Sunday afternoon's loss to the Orioles. While the skipper insists he is "not turning Wakefield into a reliever" and just keeping him there until he starts again, Wakefield was none too pleased with the decision.
When asked if he had any comments about the decision, the knuckleballer said "I don't have any." When asked if he had any concerns about adjusting to a role as a reliever, he said "None" and nothing else. When asked about the club insisting all spring that he was a starter, Wakefield responded with this: "Today was a very good day, I threw a lot of strikes and unfortunately we ended up on the short end of the stick."
Safe to say Wakefield was not interested in discussing his new role, which will officially begin after the off-day Thursday. There is growing speculation that Alan Embree will also join the Sox bullpen at some point on the road trip. He has been throwing well in Triple-A Pawtucket and those in front of him (Scott Atchison, Scott Schoeneweis) may be expendable.
We will have more on the Wakefield news in a separate piece. To follow along on the Red Sox road trip check out the live blog each day. Josh Beckett goes in the opener in Toronto on Monday night. First pitch is 7:07 p.m.
Final, Orioles 7-6: As they tend to do, the Orioles give the Red Sox the chance at another miracle in the 10th, but this time Boston falls short.
Hard to imagine an ending like this when Tim Wakefield walked off the mound with a 4-1 lead two outs into the seventh. The bullpen allowed one of his inherited runners to score and then gave up five runs of its own as the Sox finish a 4-6 homestand in dismal fashion.
Boston hits the road for six starting Monday night in Toronto. Before we look ahead we will go downstairs to get some reaction from the club.
5:13 p.m.: The Sox have plated two in the 10th and there is just one out. Old friend Cla Meredith is on to try to close it out for Baltimore.
Mid 10th, Orioles 7-4: Well that didn't go well. In a half inning that seemed to take about six hours, the Sox surrender three runs, all charged to Scott Atchison.
The first five Orioles reached in the frame. Baltimore sticks with Jim Johnson to try to get the last three outs and snap a 10-game losing streak against Boston.
4:55 p.m.: Manny Delcarmen is the third Boston pitcher of the inning. Scott Schoeneweis gives up a pair of singles to score three runs and put the Orioles ahead 7-4.
4:47 p.m.: Terry Francona will be questioned for not bringing Daniel Bard back out. Bard had thrown just once in the previous three days (21 pitches) before striking out the side in the ninth. Scott Atchison loads the bases with no outs in the 10th and Scott Schoeneweis is on in a sticky situation.
End 9th, 4-4: A leadoff single by Darnell McDonald and a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Marco Scutaro goes for naught. Jim Johnson pulls the string to fan Dustin Pedroia and gets Victor Martinez to ground to first.
Daniel Bard is out after striking out the side in the ninth. Scott Atchison is your guy for a little while now.
Mid 9th, 4-4: Daniel Bard throws hard, just in case you hadn't heard. He blows away three straight Orioles to get this one to the ninth.
The hero Tuesday night, Darnell McDonald, leads things off for the Sox, followed by the top of the order.
End 8th, 4-4: Daniel Bard is on to pitch the ninth, and maybe more, for Boston. As mentioned earlier, Jonathan Papelbon is likely not available unless this one keeps going.
4:17 p.m.: Jim Johnson is the fifth Orioles pitcher. He jogs on with one out in the eighth and nobody on.
Mid 8th, 4-4: A leadoff single off Hideki Okajima draws a few groans but the lefty is able to get the next three and send this one to the bottom of the eighth tied.
End 7th, 4-4: How many of you have sat on your couch and screamed at the TV for David Ortiz to just drop a bunt down the third-base line? He just did, nearly plating Dustin Pedroia from third with the go-ahead run, but it rolled foul. Two pitches later Ortiz was gone, a strikeout victim for the 19th time in 49 at bats.
Hideki Okajima will start the eighth for the Sox. Scott Atchison is up in the bullpen.
3:58 p.m.: Dustin Pedroia sits at third base with two outs and David Ortiz coming up. Time to bring on another lefty. Alberto Castillo is the Orioles' fourth pitcher of the afternoon.
Mid 7th, 4-4: Remember that scoreless streak the Red Sox bullpen was boasting of last week? 21 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings? That's a distant memory. Three Boston relievers have combined to give up five runs in the last 1 1/3 frames after Hideki Okajima coughs it up in the seventh.
Okajima allows an RBI double to Nick Markakis on the second pitch he throws and then a game-tying two-run shot to Miguel Tejada.
Seconds after Tim Wakefield leaves the game his chance at earning his first win of the year is washed away.
3:44 p.m.: Tim Wakefield gets a warm ovation and tips his cap to the fans as he leaves with two outs in the sixth. Hideki Okajima is on to try to help Wakefield nail down career win No. 190.
One thing to watch for here. Terry Francona is going to avoid using Jonathan Papelbon at all costs. We may see Okajima and Daniel Bard combine to get the last seven outs.
End 6th, Red Sox 4-1: Four singles, a double, a walk and a sacrifice fly amount to four runs in the sixth for the Red Sox. They sent nine men to the plate and tore through three Orioles pitchers.
In innings five through seven this year, Boston as scored 36 runs. It has a total of 29 in the first four.
Tim Wakefield is out there for his seventh inning of work.
3:31 p.m.: The Red Sox have scored the winning run in their last five victories in the seventh inning or later. Maybe they're improving a bit. The go-ahead tallies come in during the sixth in this one as Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and J.D. Drew get consecutive RBIs. The Orioles are making their second pitching change of the inning with Mike Lowell set to pinch hit for Jonathan Van Every.
3:19 p.m.: David Hernandez's afternoon ends in a hurry as the Sox chase him in the sixth, a game-tying single by Kevin Youkilis the decisive blow. Mark Hendrickson is on in relief.
Mid 6th, Orioles 1-0: If we choose not to believe the reports that Tim Wakefield is headed to the bullpen and consider this an audition to remain in the rotation, we'd have to like his chances.
Wakefield strikes out the last two in the sixth and now has five Ks in six strong.
End 5th, Orioles 1-0: For the second time in three innings the Red Sox draw a leadoff walk but do absolutely nothing with it. It was a free pass to start the seventh that got Boston going Saturday night. Maybe the club is biding its time for some late dramatics again.
Or maybe David Hernandez just has it working. Hard to imagine he's even broken a sweat. Just one Red Sox runner has reached second base.
Mid 5th, Orioles 1-0: Maybe Adrian Beltre thought the game started at 1:45, not 1:35. Since his early miscues on the first two plays of the game he has been awesome at third base. A sliding stop in the fifth freezes a runner at third and gets Tim Wakefield his second out of the inning.
Wake then gets Luke Scott to fly to left and is through five. Baltimore has left seven on, five in scoring position.
End 4th, Orioles 1-0: David Ortiz drops to 7-for-47 (.149) with a fly to right. J.D. Drew falls to 10-for-59 (.169) with a fly to left. And that does it for the Sox in the fourth. Just two singles thus far off David Hernandez.
Mid 4th, Orioles 1-0: On his 70th pitch of the afternoon Tim Wakefield strikes out Nolan Reimold to leave runners at the corners in the fourth.
In 22 innings this series, Baltimore has left 29 runners on base. Sixteen men have been stranded in scoring position. That can make one-run losses positively maddening.
End 3rd, Orioles 1-0: Twice in this series the Orioles have been given the short end of the stick on blown calls, and twice the plays have taken place at second base.
In the opener Friday, an Oriole was ruled out at second despite the Sox' defender being off the bag. Now, Baltimore second baseman Ty Wigginton was ruled off the bag despite being on it, allowing Jeremy Hermida to avoid a force.
Wigginton still got an out on the play at first and David Hernandez escaped trouble, but Dave Trembley has to be wondering when he will get a break.
Mid 3rd, Orioles 1-0: Six balls have been hit Adrian Beltre's way already. He flubbed one into an infield hit, another into an error and has showcased his outstanding defensive skills on the other four.
Beltre scoops a hard one-hopper for the second out of the third, part of a 1-2-3 for Tim Wakefield.
End 2nd, Orioles 1-0: Kevin Youkilis hit a big three-run homer Saturday night and now has the team lead in tackles after taking out Orioles first baseman Rhyne Hughes on a lazy foul pop near the on-deck circle.
Both players were moving very slowly toward one another but Youk just didn't see Hughes settling under the ball and knocked him over with a bit of a hip check. The putout is credited to Hughes on an interference call, for those of you scoring at home, which I imagine is none of you since this is just a live blog and not a play-by-play.
But I'm versatile. I can do that too. David Ortiz followed with a fly to left, J.D. Drew singled and Adrian Beltre grounded into a force to end the inning.
Mid 2nd, Orioles 1-0: The dreaded Rhyne Hughes-Craig Tatum tandem strikes in the second to get the Orioles on the board first.
Hughes, who made his major league debut Saturday, is 3-for-6 with an RBI and a run scored since being called up. He doubled with one away in the second and then scored on Tatum's wall-ball single.
Cesar Izturis followed with a base hit but Tim Wakefield was able to strand a pair of runners for the second straight innning.
The Orioles have left 27 on in 20 innings this series.
End 1st, 0-0: We mentioned that the first of Adrian Beltre's two errors in the first came on a pretty sharp grounder and it was not an easy play. The official scorer has agreed, and changed it to a hit for Nolan Reimold. So just one error in the first inning for Beltre.
The Sox have three straight fly ball outs in the bottom of the first.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Where to start. Oh, how about with Adrian Beltre. He commits an error on the first two plays of the game, both on relatively routine grounders right at him. The boos were heavy after the second, and chants of "We Want Lowell" rang out for a few moments. The Sox now have committed 15 errors this year, second only to Detroit in the American League.
The first grounder off the bat of Nolan Reimold was hit rather hard. The second was a tailor-made double-play ball.
In more typical fashion, Beltre makes a sparkling backhand play down the line for the second out and then tracks down a foul pop near the Orioles dugout to get Tim Wakefield out of a mess. Quite an inning for the Red Sox third baseman.
1:30 p.m.: If there is ever a true sign of spring it is the first time the windows get raised in the press box at Fenway. We've been closed in until this afternoon, and it feels nice to get some fresh air.
1:10 p.m.: It's time for our daily look at some statistics. A few interesting tidbits in today's addition.
– If the Sox lose Sunday it would give the club its first losing 10-game homestand since Aug. 11-21, 2006. The memorable five-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees was part of that stretch, which sent Boston into a tailspin and an eventual third-place finish.
– Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis are a combined 6-for-21 (.286) against Orioles starter David Hernandez, but five of their six hits have been home runs. All three of Pedroia's knocks off Hernandez have been round-trippers.
– With at least six hits Sunday, the Sox will have amassed that many in 43 straight games vs. Baltimore, the longest streak ever against the O's.
– Boston is 6-10 with J.D. Drew in the starting lineup, and 2-0 in games he begins on the bench.
– Baltimore is 8-34 at Fenway Park since June 2, 2005, and has dropped 15 of the last 16 here.
– The Orioles are 6-for-67 (.090) with runners in scoring position and two outs, and 23-for-135 (.170) with runners in scoring position. Both numbers are the worst in the majors.
12:05 p.m.: We received a few updates on some of the walking wounded while downstairs. First off, both Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron will travel with the team to Toronto, something they were only going to do if they could resume any baseball activities. So that's a positive.
"I don't know if we have any idea on timetables but if they're gonna be able to travel with us that means they're going to be able to do some baseball things, which is a good thing," Terry Francona said.
Ellsbury met with reporters moments later and said he feels about the same as he has for the past week or so. He continues to work on his cardio, but his hitting and throwing remain light. While he was taking cuts in the cage earlier in the week, he has been limited to working off the tee of late.
It does not appear as if he will hit his mark of returning April 27, when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. It may not even be close. But at least Ellsbury feels as if the injury will not have any lingering effects once healed.
"When I get back out there I'll be the same player I was before," he said. "I'm not worried about that."
Jed Lowrie, who has been sidelined with mononucleosis for about six weeks, has stepped up his work just slightly. Francona said that the infielder is finally able to handle baseball activities and workouts two days in a row, whereas before he would need a day of rest.
"The hope is that the next couple of weeks you start to see a real turn where his energy level returns," Francona said. "I think he's down 10 pounds from when this happened but he's leveled off so hopefully he'll start gaining some strength back and really get after it."
11:38 a.m.: Jonathan Van Every will make his first start for the Sox in center field Sunday, the sixth different player the team has started in that position already this year. Here are the lineups for both teams:
Red Sox (8-10)
Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
David Ortiz DH
J.D. Drew RF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Jonathan Van Every CF
Nolan Reimold LF
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Luke Scott DH
Ty Wigginton 2B
Rhyne Hughes 1B
Craig Tatum C
Cesar Izturis SS
7:41 a.m.:The brooms will be out at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon as the Red Sox aim to sweep the Baltimore Orioles.
Boston has scored late runs to claim the first two games of the series, including Saturday's 7-6 victory. It was the fourth straight time the Sox have won a game by one run.
Tim Wakefield makes what could be his last start for Boston before being moved to the bullpen. David Hernandez goes for the Orioles, a team that is now 2-16 overall and losers of 10 straight to the Sox.
First pitch is 1:35 p.m.