No matter what happens to the Red Sox in their 162nd game – or 163rd, for that matter – Tim Wakefield isn’t ready to call it a career.
Wakefield, 45, said in an interview Tuesday that he fully expects to return to the Red Sox next year.
“I’ve definitely made up my mind that I definitely want to come back next year,” Wakefield said. “I have another goal in front of me that I’d like to accomplish, and that’s the all-time record for the Red Sox in wins. I’m only seven away. I think the fans deserve an opportunity to watch me chase that record. We’ll see what happens.”
Wakefield earned his 200th career victory earlier this month, of which he said, “It meant the world to me. It’s a memory I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
Wakefield assumed a much greater role on the Boston pitching staff this year than Red Sox officials anticipated, going 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA in 154 2/3 innings. It was his highest workload in a season since 2008.
“I think I’ve pitched better than the numbers have (indicated),” Wakefield said. “But my job, as fourth or fifth starter, is to give the club innings and get us in position to win a game. I’ve never claimed to be an ace of the staff. I’ve always wanted to be that anchor. With the knuckleball, over my 18-year career, it’s been innings pitched. I feel like I’ve done that.”
Even if he doesn’t pitch again during the regular season, Wakefield has a strong case for the postseason roster because of his ability to work as a starter or reliever.
-- Jon Paul Morosi