The persistent rain that forced the Red Sox to reschedule Friday night’s series opener with the Tampa Bay Rays also led manager John Farrell to make minor shifts to keep his pitching rotation in order.
Felix Doubront, who was scheduled to take the mound Friday, will be bumped back to early next week, and Jon Lester will pitch Saturday. Doubront’s last start came April 5 against Toronto. The plan, Farrell said, is to have the lefthander pitch a simulated game before his next start.
Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Ryan Dempster are in line to pitch the next three games against the Rays. Doubront will the slide back into the rotation Tuesday in Cleveland, ahead of Alfredo Aceves.
“That gets him back in between Dempster and splits up the lefties,” Farrell said.
Farrell expects Doubront to throw “anywhere from 45 to 55 pitches” in the simulated game.
“I was looking forward to Felix pitching [Friday],” Farrell said. “I thought his last outing in Toronto he made some quality pitches in that game and he’s a guy that’s going to be important for us. Right now, because of the extended time between starts, it’s a little disruption to his routine or his schedule. So the disappointing thing is not seeing Felix on the mound tonight.”
Between a rain delay on Wednesday, a postponement Friday, an early game Saturday, and a morning game Monday, Farrell acknowledged a disruption in routine.
“We had a stretch of games where that timing and that routine became pretty consistent,” Farrell said. “I can’t say that one day is going to completely disrupt a lot of what’s going on. But with morning games coming up on Monday and the inability to take BP on Sunday because of another situation on the field in the morning, tomorrow just getting out with a regular routine pregame will be important for us. You’ve got to adjust. These things are common to playing baseball in Boston just because of the weather early on in the season.”
Friday’s game was rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader on June 18.
Ortiz keeping busy
The Pawtucket Red Sox were rained out Friday as well, but that won’t cut into David Ortiz’s rehabilitation assignment. Ortiz will get up to five at-bats in Saturday’s doubleheader, according to Farrell.
“It’ll be a seven-inning game,” Farrell said. “I think we’ll still look to get a total of five at-bats. Whether or not he maintains that looseness which we expect in between games, that’ll be a game-time decision as far as he being in the lineup in game two.”
Ortiz went 2 for 3 with a run and RBI in his first rehab game with the PawSox Thursday night.
Wakefield in fold
Since retiring last year, Tim Wakefield has started brainstorming ways to become involved in the Red Sox organization. The team announced Friday that Wakefield would return as an honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation as well as a special assignment instructor in baseball operations.
“Being as passionate as I was for charitable works and the community, not only the one at home but the one that supported me for 17 years here, I thought it was important to get back involved with that,” Wakefield said.
As a special assignment coach Wakefield will be an extra set of eyes for pitching coach Juan Nieves and throughout the organization.
“I might be able to see something mechanically or help out another pitcher mentally, just another sounding board for them.
“One benefit that I had when I was younger was having the access to Charlie Hough, Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro, [Tom] Candiotti, all the guys that walked in the shoes before me and I thought it was very valuable to my success and my career. It’s just nice that I could be that person for the younger generation of knuckleballers that we have in the organization.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.