Wakefield prepared for whatever his role may be

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Wakefield prepared for whatever his role may be

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. Tim Wakefield entered in relief of Daisuke Matsuzaka in Saturdays 11-2 loss to the Marlins at City of Palms Park. It was the second time in as many outings hes come in to relieve the Japanese right-hander. Although, hes come in from the bullpen in both Grapefruit League outings, Wakefield is approaching his appearances this spring as starts.

Yeah, he said. Because you never know what might happen inspring training. They put me on (the list to start) the first day, that they were going to stretch me out as a starter because you never know what might happen. And they'd be behind theeight ballif somebody got hurt or something else happened. So, that's the way I have to approach every spring training regardless of what my role might be and when spring is over see what my role might be.

Wakefield went 2 23 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

"I was going to throw three (innings) or 50 (pitches Saturday and obviously the 50 came before the three, but I felt good, he said. Manager Terry Francona came out and said, You're at 58. I really didn't feel I had thrown almost 60 pitches so that told me I'm in shape and keep going."

Which makes him confident of a good season ahead for himself.

"I just think last year coming off surgery, I had a full offseason to really work out to get back to normal instead of rehabbing muscles in the offseason, he said. So I feel a lot stronger now and see what happens."

With Josh Beckett and Matsuzaka injured for a good portion of 2010, Wakefield made 19 starts. When asked his chances of making 20 starts, Wakefield replied:

"Regardless of whether I do or not (get 20 starts) I want to help us win ballgames as much as possible and hopefully I'll get the opportunity to get in there and help us win that way too."

The Red Sox squad that traveled to Sarasota to play the Orioles, managed by bench coach DeMarlo Hale, ended with a 10-inning, 4-4 tie. Alfredo Aceves pitched three innings, giving up one run (unearned) on two hits. Dennys Reyes, in his first appearance for the Sox, pitched one scoreless inning, giving up one hit. Lenny DiNardo was charged with a blown save. Jose Iglesias went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Oscar Tejeda went 3-for-5, with a triple and three RBI. Baltimores Jake Fox hit a game-tying home run off Matt Fox in the ninth inning.

Carl Crawford went 2-for-3, his first hits of the spring, with a walk in Sarasota.

Left-hander Jon Lester, who was scheduled to start Sunday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, has been scratched with the flu. Michael Bowden will start.

J.D. Drew was also out Saturday with the flu.

Brent Dlugach was re-evaluated Saturday morning and diagnosed with a shoulder dislocation event. He has started his rehab program and will begin baseball activities once his range of motion and strength are ready.

Yamaico Navarro went 2-for-2 with his first home run.

Darnell McDonald went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Bobby Jenks went one inning, with two strikeouts.

That was a really sharpbreaking ballwe saw today, Francona said. His velocity was a little bit more than we expected early on in camp, but that was a really good inning. A day like today, when you're getting beat around, you can hang your hat on a couple of the good things that happened and try to fix the things that didn't work.

Daniel Bard had a rough outing, going 23 of an inning against the Marlins, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks, facing six batters.

Bardo just didn't really bring it from the bullpen to the game, Francona said. He felt good in the bullpen, but the first couple of hitters he was really fighting it. You could tell. He threw a lot of pitches, his velocity was fine. He just needs a little bit of work.

Dustin Pedroia was in the clubhouse after the game against the Marlins, carrying three hot dogs he had just procured from a City of Palms Park concession stand.

Awesome, he declared of his snacks.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Despite still being owed more than $42 million after this year, Pablo Sandoval's days with the Red Sox appear numbered. So, it's no surprise that landing a third baseman at the trade deadline is a priority.

That's among the "major upgrades" the Sox are seeking by the July 31 deadline, MLB.com columnist Mark Feinsand reports.

With Sandoval now on his second disabled list stint of the season - this time with an ear infection - after turning into what Feinsand calls "a horror tale for the Red Sox," and with fill-ins Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero holding down third, it's apparent that the position is a glaring need.

"Sandoval is basically a non-entity at this point," a source told Feinsand. "They need to make a move there."

Feinsand mentions the usual suspects - Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Todd Frazier of the White Sox - as possibilities. Also, he wonders if former MVP Josh Donaldson could be pried away from the Blue Jays (if "Dave Dombrowski knocks their socks off") with an offer and if Toronto is still sputtering at the deadline?

Those other upgrades? "Boston is also looking for pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen," Feinsand writes. Again, no surprise there.

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

A look under the hood is not encouraging. A look at the performance is.

The sideshows for the Red Sox have been numerous. What the team’s success to this point has reinforced is how much talent and performance can outweigh everything else. Hitting and pitching can drown out a word that rhymes with pitching — as long as the wins keep coming.

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At 40-32, the Sox have the seventh-best win percentage (.556) in the majors. What they lack, by their own admission, is an intangible. Manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday in Kansas City his club was still searching for its identity.

“A team needs to forge their own identity every year,” Farrell said. “That’s going to be dependent upon the changes on your roster, the personalities that exist, and certainly the style of game that you play. So, with [David Ortiz’s] departure, his retirement, yeah, that was going to happen naturally with him not being here. And I think, honestly, we’re still kind of forming it.”

To this observer, the vibe in the Red Sox clubhouse is not the merriest. 

Perhaps, in the mess hall, the players are a unified group of 25 (or so), living for one another with every pitch. What the media sees is only a small slice of the day. 

But it does not feel like Farrell has bred an easygoing, cohesive environment.

Farrell and big boss Dave Dombrowski appeared unaligned in their view of Pablo Sandoval’s place on the roster, at least until Sandoval landed on the disabled list. 

Hanley Ramirez and first base may go together like Craig Kimbrel and the eighth inning. Which is to say, selfless enthusiasm for the ultimate goal of winning does not appear constant with either.

Dustin Pedroia looked like the spokesperson of a fractured group when he told Manny Machado, in front of all the cameras, “It’s not me, it’s them,” as the Orioles and Red Sox carried forth a prolonged drama of drillings. 

Yet, when you note the Sox are just a half-game behind the Yankees for the American League East lead; when you consider the Sox have won 19 of their past 30 games, you need to make sure everything is kept in proportion.

How much are the Sox really hurt by a lack of identity? By any other issue off the field?

Undoubtedly, the Sox would be better positioned if there were no sideshows. But it’s hard to say they’d have ‘X’ more wins.

The Sox would have had a better chance of winning Wednesday’s game if Kimbrel pitched at any point in the eighth inning, that’s for sure. 

Kimbrel is available for one inning at this point, the ninth, Farrell has said.

A determination to keep Kimbrel out of the eighth because that’s not what a closer traditionally does seems like a stance bent on keeping Kimbrel happy rather than doing what is best for the team. The achievement of a save has been prioritized over the achievement of a team win, a state of affairs that exists elsewhere, but is nonetheless far from ideal — a state of affairs that does not reflect an identity of all for one and one for all.

Maybe the Sox will find that identity uniformly. Maybe they’re so good, they can win the division without it.