Dice-K could start Monday in Toronto

Updated: April 22, 2010, 9:29 PM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Daisuke Matsuzaka will be inserted into the Boston Red Sox's rotation, manager Terry Francona said before Thursday's game, and according to a team source, Tim Wakefield was told before the game he will be moved to the bullpen.

Matsuzaka
Matsuzaka

The Wakefield move was first reported by Comcast Sports New England's Sean McAdam.

Wakefield has worked out of the bullpen before, but all spring the Red Sox have stressed that Wakefield is a starter and having a knuckleballer in the bullpen invites its own set of problems.

Making Wakefield a reliever means Clay Buchholz will remain in the starting rotation. Buchholz, who started Thursday night's game against the Rangers, has an option remaining, which means he could have been returned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Buchholz, who is the only member of Boston's vaunted starting rotation with an ERA under 5 (Buchholz is at 1.80), was tagged for four unearned runs in the first inning of his last start when center fielder Mike Cameron, playing through the pain of an abdominal tear, dropped a line drive hit right at him, and a couple of batters later Pat Burrell doubled home three runs.

Matsuzaka posted a 2-0 record and 1.62 ERA in three starts. He threw 99 pitches in 5 2/3 innings, walking none and striking out eight, in Pawtucket's 8-4 win over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. He would figure to start either Monday or Tuesday in Toronto, depending on whether the Sox prefer to give Josh Beckett an extra day's rest.

The numbers would argue in favor of having Matsuzaka pitch Monday and Beckett on Tuesday. Since the beginning of the 2009 season, Beckett is 10-0 with a 2.23 ERA with an extra day's rest, including 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA this season.

Gordon Edes is ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox reporter. He covered the Red Sox for 12 years and has reported on baseball for 25 years. Ask a question for his next mailbag here.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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