Blessed with a rubber arm, Julian Tavarez has been used in every kind of pitching role during his career. If he could make the choice, he'd never stop what he's doing right now.
Tavarez, thanks to Jonathan Papelbon moving back to the bullpen in late March, is starting again.
This gives Tavarez a chance to pick up right where he left off last year, when he went 3-0 with a 4.01 ERA in six September starts. Tavarez makes his 2007 debut on Saturday night in Texas.
"When I came to be a starter, I knew what day I was going to pitch, so I was more prepared," said Tavarez. "I had five or six days to get ready. I was ready for that day I was going to pitch, and I think that's why things turned around for me because I was more prepared."
Whether it was animatedly interacting with his fielders or working at a crisp pace, there was no mystery last September how much fun Tavarez was having. He hopes to resume it Saturday and beyond.
"I hope he gives us five, six, seven, eight good ones like he usually does," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
Tavarez, Boston's No. 5 starter, will be opposed by Rangers ace Kevin Millwood.
"I've always been thinking I wanted to be a starter since I started my career in 1992," said Tavarez. "I was a starter in the Minor Leagues also. I was a starter in the Major Leagues, then they made the decision for me to be a reliever. I think this is one of the reasons I've been in the Major Leagues for 12 years already is because of things I've been available to do. If you leave it to me, I'd say I want to be a starter."
When Tavarez starts against the Rangers, he'll be going against the team he earned his first Major League win against way back on Aug. 14, 1993, as a rookie for the Cleveland Indians.Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (5-4, 4.47 ERA in 2006)
Tavarez excelled last September when he moved into the starting rotation, going 3-0 with a 4.01 ERA. Of Tavarez's 700 career appearances, 85 have been starts. Tavarez pitched a complete-game victory over the Blue Jays on Sept. 22, leading the Red Sox to a 7-1 win. Tavarez is 2-3 with a 5.86 ERA against the Rangers in 19 career appearances. TEX: RHP Kevin Millwood (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
The Rangers are skipping their fifth starter because of off-days so Millwood and the others can pitch on their normal five days' rest. Millwood is 3-3 with a 4.12 ERA in nine career starts against the Red Sox. He was 7-7 with a 5.38 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington last year, but was 4-3 with a 3.91 ERA in his final seven starts. Five of those seven were quality starts. Player to watch
Sox slugger David Ortiz might be racing to the bat rack on Saturday night. He is 5-for-9 with three homers and seven RBIs lifetime against Millwood. Ortiz is also due for a breakout after going 2-for-15 in his first four games. On the Internet
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WRKO-680 AM, Spanish Baseball Network (Español) Up next
Sunday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 0-1, 11.25) at Texas (RHP Vicente Padilla, 0-1, 11.57), 8:05 p.m. ET
Tuesday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 1-0, 1.80) vs. Mariners (RHP Miguel Batista, 0-1, 15.43), 2:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Red Sox (RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, 1-0, 1.29) vs. Mariners (TBA), 7:05 p.m. ET