Terry Francona announced yesterday that Tim Wakefield will not be on the Red Sox’s roster for the ALDS, but added that the team may decide to use him in the ALCS or World Series if they get past the Angels:
And he’s on board with that, which we appreciate a lot. He’s not going to be in the first round, but that doesn’t mean that something couldn’t happen. We all understand where he’s at. It’s been very difficult for him physically. But we didn’t want to just shut him down either, because he could still play a role. As crazy as this game is, we just want to keep our options open.
Wakefield has been left off the roster for playoff series before, but pitched in each of the Red Sox’s last eight trips to the postseason dating all the way back to 1995. He was also an All-Star this season after going 11-3 with a 4.31 ERA in the first half. However, the 43-year-old knuckleballer spent much of the second half on the disabled list with nerve problems in his back and went just 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA down the stretch after rejoining the rotation.
Incidentally, while Wakefield has been a playoff fixture for the Red Sox over the past 15 years he hasn’t actually performed very well in the postseason. He’s just 3-7 with an 8.00 ERA in 54 playoff innings spread over nine starts and seven relief appearances for Boston.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.
The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.
Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.