Agent says Wakefield wants to finish career with Sox

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Agent says Wakefield wants to finish career with Sox

MILWAUKEE -- The agent for free agent pitcher Tim Wakefield said Wednesday that his client "absolutely" plans to continue his career and the veteran knuckleballer wants to finish his career with the Red Sox.

"Our hope is that it's with the Red Sox," said Barry Meister. "We expressed that to them. Tim feels strongly that he can still pitch and pitch effectively, whether it's in a starter's role or in that hybrid. And I just think that If he didn't (continue to) pitch for the Boston Red Sox, it would be a shame."

Meister has had a few conversations with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, but understands the Sox have bigger issues with which to deal, not the least of which is hiring a manager to replace Terry Francona.

"We'll keep the lines of communication open," said Meister.

Wakefield, 45, has pitched for the Sox since 1995. Last season, he was 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA in 32 games, 23 of them starts. He won his 200th career game on his ninth attempt in September.

Wakefield, said Meister, "loves being a Red Sox. But he loves being a baseball player. And if for some reason, they don't think he can (pitch), well, then he's going to win 15 games somewhere else and show them that, once again, they've underestimated him. But he loves Boston. Whether it's the Wakefield charity or the Jimmy Fund, that's his community and he feels like he can help this club. He feels like he had unfinished business. He wants to win. He wants to put another ring on his finger. He wants a parade. He's from Boston now, right?"

Part of Wakefield's motivation may be to come back and become the franchise's all-time winningest pitcher. He has 186 career wins with the Sox, six shy of the mark shared by Cy Young and Roger Clemens.

"But I don't want to lose sight of the fact that he wants to win another World Series," said Meister.

Meister said he's already fielded calls from other teams with an interest and hinted that if returning to the Red Sox wasn't an option, the National League would be a likely landing spot.

"I've done some research," said Meister, "and knuckleball pitchers that have changed leagues from the American League to the National League, I think it's 13 out of 15 in the last 40 years have lowered their earned run average by a run and a quarter or more.

"It's a huge difference, as the league takes a year to adjust. I have no doubt, if that's what he ends up doing, he'll have a geometric success because they'll be seeing a pitch they haven't seen before."

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is with the NL's New York Mets, but throws the pitch with less regularity and at a different speed than does Wakefield.

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

Drellich: Hanley Ramirez has to improve or Red Sox need to try others

BOSTON — It doesn’t really matter what’s holding Hanley Ramirez back: his health, his desire to play at less-than-100 percent, neither, both. The Red Sox need him to produce more at the plate, as the designated hitter, or need to play someone who can produce more.

The suggestion of putting Ramirez on the disabled list so that his shoulders (and now, his left knee, where he was hit by a pitch Sunday) may heal is reasonable. If you can’t hit well — if you can’t even be in the lineup — why are you on the roster?

Ramirez was out for a second straight game Tuesday night. 

Flat-out benching Ramirez in favor of Chris Young or Sam Travis or both for a time makes sense too. Young will DH again Tuesday and Travis will start at first against Twins left-hander Hector Santiago. 

Try one, try all. The route to better production doesn’t matter. As long as the Sox get some, be it from Ramirez or somewhere else.

After Mitch Moreland, who’s playing with a fractured big toe on his left foot, homered and had another impactful night on Monday, Sox manager John Farrell made some comments that are hard to read as anything but a message to Ramirez.

“In his most recent stretch, he’s been able to get on top of some fastballs that have been at the top of the strike zone or above for some power obviously,” Farrell said. “But I think the way he’s gone about it given the physical condition he’s in, is a strong message to the remainder of this team.”

Tuesday is June 27. From May 27 on, Ramirez is hitting .202 with a .216 on-base percentage and .369 slugging percentage. 

In the final three months of the 2016 season, Ramirez hit .300 with a .379 OBP and .608 slugging percentage. That’s from the start of July through the end of the regular season. 

The potential for such a second-half surge is hard to ignore. The Sox need to figure out if Ramirez is healthy enough to give it to them, and if not, be willing to give someone else an extended look — be it with Ramirez on the bench or the DL.

Farrell suspended one game for last week's run-in with umpire

Farrell suspended one game for last week's run-in with umpire

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell has been suspended one game because of Saturday night's scream-fest with umpire Bill Miller, when Farrell objected to a balk call made on Fernando Abad that led to an Angels run in the seventh inning.

Farrell is to serve the suspension on Tuesday night. He has also been fined.

Farrell and the umpire couldn't have been much closer to each other's face, and some contact was made.

"There was contact made, yes. I didn't bump him though," Farrell said a day later. "The tip of my finger touched his shirt."

Miller has ejected Farrell three times, more than any other umpire.

"No, honestly I didn't even know that, someone's brought to my attention that it's been the third time," Farrell said Sunday when asked if that history played in. "I don't have a tote board of who's done what and how many times