Wakefield comfortable, shining in starting role

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Wakefield comfortable, shining in starting role

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON - Tim Wakefield felt right at home on Sunday afternoon, and it wasnt just because he was pitching at Fenway Park.

Wakefield made his eighth start of the season and, after alternating from the starting rotation and bullpen last year, he is finding success with consistency.

Ive got a more consistent job right now," he said following the Red Sox' 12-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. I think last year was a lot of inconsistencies on what I was doing - bullpen, start, bullpen, start, back to bullpen. Its nice to have a routine and get some repetition on working on stuff on the side versus hoping its there when the game starts out of the bullpen. Its been a pleasure so far.

Wakefield went eight innings (his longest outing since July 2, 2010) and recorded six strikeouts while giving up three hits and three earned runs (two home runs). Of his 99 pitches, 75 were strikes.

He threw a lot of strikes. I mean, a lot of strikes," said Terry Francona. He gave up one walk, he just filled up the strike zone and the ball was moving. Today was a good day to hit, if you elevate that knuckleball, any pitch its going to go. He just threw a ton of strikes with a good knuckleball.

After the game the Brewers admitted they were stifled by Wakefields delivery.

The hard part is when he throws you a good one, nobody is going to hit it," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. Thats the hard part. Theres times where weve come in where he hasnt had a good knuckleball and its completely different. But when hes like he is today, youre fortunate to get runs off him.

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia wasnt surprised. He believes Wakefield is better suited to be a starter and had a feeling before the game he would be effective.

He was excellent, he said. That's probably the best stuff I've seen from him all year that I've caught him. Even in the bullpen I was having trouble just because the ball was moving everywhere. He was really just kind of throwing it for strikes, too, getting ahead. But obviously it's a tough pitch to hit as it is anyways.

Wakefield credited his teammates for giving him the run support to help him settle in on the mound. His manager gave him credit for giving the team a solid start when called upon.

I think his role is exactly what hes doing," said Francona. We talked about it going in that theres probably going to be starts for him. We dont know where theyre going to be. Because of his versatility, hes filled that role. Hes filled it unbelievably. Youre fortunate on a staff where you have a guy like that and going into the season he knew what is his role was and, in all honesty, you dont know when the starts are going to be. But he prepared real well and hes really helping us out.

Wakefield may not always know when his next start will come, but his teammates know they can feel confident with him on the mound.

Said David Ortiz, Hes got a gift and the longer he can make that ball move like that, hes going to be successful.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCamerato

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.