Wakefield pregame interview
Red Sox pitcher ready for Game 4 start after long layoff
It's obviously been some time since you're able to pitch in a game. Would you give us an update on how you're feeling, and what, if any, concerns you have or what would be the biggest concern of the layoff?
TIM WAKEFIELD: I really don't have any concerns. I was able to throw a simulated game last week in Boston. Went five innings, threw 77 pitches and got my work done in between there, and I feel ready to go tomorrow.
In the period where you know you talked to Terry and you knew you're not going to be on the Division Series roster and before you took command of the series, did you allow yourself to think, my season could be over?
TIM WAKEFIELD: No, not at all. Battling this injury for the whole month of September when we got to the postseason, I wanted to pitch pretty bad, but unfortunately I think the Red Sox gave me the respect that they wanted me to be on the playoff roster for the ALDS.
I tried to play catch on Tuesday before we reopened, and it just didn't seem right for me to be on that roster knowing that I probably wouldn't be able for Game 1, knowing that my role was going to be a long guy if something happened to Josh early in that game. We really didn't have anybody to go that day. I wasn't going to pitch Wednesday. The first day probably would have been Friday, and it just didn't make any sense for the Red Sox, for us as a team.
I mean that the team might not advance, not that you were hurt.
TIM WAKEFIELD: Well, that was a risk I was willing to take at that point. I probably wouldn't have been any help to us in the ALDS, and it didn't make any sense to try to fit a square peg into a round hole at that point.
What did the rest do for you that you've had? And is there any concern about command with the knuckleball following the layoff?
TIM WAKEFIELD: Yes and no. I mean, the rest has done me well. Obviously, you know, I threw that simulated game, I felt like my command was there, and then I'm taking my normal rest. I've thrown side, done my work, gotten some work done between starts, and I'm ready to go tomorrow.
Before you got hurt you were on a very good streak. Is there a specific pitch or play or incident that caused the injury, or did it just happen?
TIM WAKEFIELD: I wish I knew. I think it just happened. I can't remember when it started bothering me, but it bothered me for probably two or three starts prior to that. I think I pitched in Chicago. The day after I pitched in Chicago I was in a lot of pain, tried to get ready for my next start, actually came to the park that day expecting to pitch, and that was the day I missed the start and couldn't do it.
Again, the whole month of September was all four days in between starts it took me to get ready to pitch that fifth day, or sometimes that sixth day, and it just got to a point where you just keep grinding it out as much as possible, and when the season was over with, I needed rest. There's nothing structurally wrong with anything, I just think it's wear and tear, and I can't pinpoint exactly what caused it to start hurting. I know it just hurt. I wish we would have known what caused it, but we couldn't figure it out.
Was there any thought during Game 2, if that game kept on going, that you would come in and pitch out of the bullpen?
TIM WAKEFIELD: There was a thought in my mind, yeah, absolutely. I was actually getting prepared at that point to possibly go into the bullpen. After Lester had come into the game, we didn't have anybody left. Fortunately it didn't come down to that.
But to answer your question, yeah, there was a thought in my mind that I'd probably have to go down there if it continued to go another three or four innings, yes.
Can you talk about how satisfying it has been for you this year to put up 17 W's at this point in your career? And does this assure in your mind that you're coming back and pitching next season? Have they had that conversation with you?
TIM WAKEFIELD: I'd love to come back next year, but they haven't had that conversation with me, and that's in the hands of the Red Sox.
But the satisfaction obviously is great. I was able to pitch for a good team. They scored me runs when I needed to score runs, and I pitched well when I needed to pitch well, and felt lucky that I pitched on the right days sometimes.
I think the biggest thing for me, looking at the 2007 season, is that we were able to get into the postseason, like we planned on during spring training, and everybody in that clubhouse worked hard to get to this point, and hopefully we can continue to do that.
Just how much do you enjoy at this point in your career postseason play, the excitement of the second season, and just being part of pitching in the postseason?
TIM WAKEFIELD: I enjoy it a lot. It's a blessing to be able to get to this point. There's a lot of teams out there that deserve to probably play in the postseason and didn't get a chance to. There's a lot of players out there that had good seasons but their team didn't make it to postseason. I think I and everybody in that clubhouse feels fortunate to be in the situation that we're in right now. Beating Anaheim three games to nothing was a huge boost for us emotionally and physically. We were able to get some time off to get some bodies healed in that clubhouse.
Again, it's a blessing just to be in the postseason, to have the kind of season that we had as a team, the kind of season that everybody had individually. It really says a lot about who the Boston Red Sox are.
How about personally? Do you enjoy the intensity?
TIM WAKEFIELD: You know me well enough that I love the intensity, I love the competition. And again, my season is over with, now it's the postseason. I'm anxious to pitch tomorrow and ready to go get 'em.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.