Wakefield not on Red Sox's ALDS roster
Knuckleballer won't shut it down in case club needs pitcher
BOSTON -- While the Red Sox haven't finalized their roster for their American League Division Series matchup vs. the Angels just yet, veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was officially told that he won't participate.
The news was not particularly surprising, given the back ailment that has limited Wakefield throughout the entire second half and will require surgery as soon as the season ends.
But the Red Sox have told the 43-year-old Wakefield to stay ready in case he is needed as an emergency replacement to the ALDS roster, or, perhaps more realistically, the American League Championship Series if Boston advances that far.
"I think it's kind of obvious the situation he's in," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He's been trying to go out there on one leg. What we did also talk to him about is not shelving his season. You can go one day where you feel good about your pitching and then something happens. Wake has that ability, whether it's two weeks from now, to throw a pretty good game. He's on board with that, which we appreciate a lot. That's kind of where we are with him."
After an All-Star first half in which Wakefield won 11 games, he has been able to pitch just four times in the second half.
Wakefield has a loose fragment in his back that has created weakness in his left leg and has made fielding his position a near impossibility. The surgery Wakefield needs should not impact his preparation for the 2010 season. There is a recovery time of maybe a month.
"He's not going to be in the first round, but that doesn't mean that something couldn't happen," Francona said. "We all understand where he's at. It's been very difficult for him physically. But we didn't want to just shut him down either, because he could still play a role. As crazy as this game is, we just want to keep all our options open, and he was completely on board with, which we were appreciative of. I know it's not easy for him."
Wakefield's reaction to the news?
"Great, I'll be ready," the right-hander said before walking away.
In other roster news, the Red Sox had hoped to evaluate struggling reliever Manny Delcarmen a little more this weekend to see if he could do any more to earn a spot in the ALDS. But Delcarmen was involved in a three-car accident on Saturday that made him unavailable for Saturday and Sunday. Delcarmen wasn't seriously injured, but he had neck and back stiffness common for the kind of accident he was in.
"He was pretty stiff last night. It sounds like he was pretty fortunate," Francona said. "We hoped to [see him pitch] and we can't, and we'll do the best we can. We've had a little bit of some gray areas this whole year, and we'll continue to try to weave around those and make good decisions and do the best we can -- not let those things get in the way of us having success."
And the other thing the Red Sox were waiting on was a detailed exam for outfielder Rocco Baldelli on his left hip flexor. Because of weekend availability at the hospital, Baldelli's MRI might have to wait until Monday.
The Red Sox would like to give that one as much time as possible to play out, given Baldelli's obvious value against Angels left-handers Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir.
"I think we're going to treat him aggressively and see where this goes," Francona said. "Potentially they don't throw a lefty until the third game. We'll see where this goes. It's a big bat to have. We'll see."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.