Red Sox's Wakefield goes 5-plus in turn

8/21/2009 - MLB Tim Wakefield Boston Red Sox + more

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- Tim Wakefield needed to face only two batters in a rehab start for the Pawtucket Red Sox on Friday to know he was "locked in."

Wakefield allowed one run and two hits over 5 2/3 innings as Pawtucket beat the Rochester Red Wings 2-1.

"Obviously that's a good barometer in terms of whether or not the guys are making pretty decent contact," said Wakefield, who struck out Steven Tolleson to start the game. "The only decent contact, obviously, was the homer. It was a misfire on my part but after that I was able to settle in and continue to pitch."

The home run Wakefield (1-1) referred to was a leadoff shot by Justin Huber on an 0-1 pitch in the second inning that cleared the elevated billboards in left field.

Wakefield has been on Boston's disabled list since July 21 after straining his lower back, left hamstring muscle and left calf muscle.

He walked one, struck out four and threw 56 of 81 pitches for strikes.

Besides Huber's home run, he allowed one other Red Wing to advance as far as second base.

Wakefield indicated he felt stronger than he did in his first rehab start, on Aug. 15, at Gwinnett.

"I felt great, physically," he said. "Compared with last week, I think my strength has increased a tremendous amount. I was able to throw more pitches and cover first base.

"There's still a little limp but nothing's really bothering me to pitch. I think I proved to myself that I could field my position pretty well. Overall, I know it's serious work. I'm not down here goofing off. I take it seriously to try and get back up to Boston and help them win."

Wakefield's next step is still to be determined.

"After I consult with 'Tito' [Boston manager Terry Francona] and [pitching coach] John Farrell tomorrow I'll see what happens," he said. "I think they know that I'm ready."