No timetable set for Wake's return
Francona says situation with knuckleballer a work in progress
BOSTON -- Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield threw on the Fenway Park field on Sunday, making it back-to-back days in which he's tried to work out the kinks in his stiff right shoulder, which landed the veteran on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 12, retroactive to Aug. 7.
Manager Terry Francona stressed that the situation with Wakefield is a work in progress. The team is working toward finding a target date for Wakefield to return to the starting rotation, but no such timetable is set at the moment.
"What we do want to do is, if we put a guy on the DL, have him have a chance to come back and pitch with health -- not pitch once and go backward," Francona said. "That's why we did this."
Francona said the Sox are working on setting a date in order to start a working regimen toward that point. With two days off during the upcoming nine-game road trip, there will be opportunities to shift the rotation if necessary in order to accommodate any type of plan.
Still, nothing is set in stone.
"We can manipulate the rotation a little bit if somebody needs to rest, and we don't know that yet," Francona said. "We've told [Wakefield] how we feel, and if he's healthy, we can figure it out. So we'll just try to use good judgment."
Wakefield isn't the only one affected by his stint on the DL. Kevin Cash, who generally gets playing time as Wakefield's catcher, has seen his playing time decreased.
Cash's role with the team has changed more to that of a traditional backup catcher, Francona said. Cash was originally scheduled to catch Sunday's game with Toronto, but the rainout on Friday changed those plans.
Cash would have caught Clay Buchholz on Sunday, but with the rotation pushed back, Francona wanted Jason Varitek to catch Josh Beckett instead.
"I think [Cash will] probably catch on Wednesday," Francona said. "It gets more traditional when the knuckleballer isn't active. You're looking at a day game after night game, or strictly to give 'Tek a rest."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.