Vicente Padilla’s role with the Red Sox is unclear, but he really, really wants to be a starter

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When the Red Sox signed Vicente Padilla they did so in part because he’s capable of starting or relieving depending on how Daniel Bard’s attempted move into the rotation and the rest of the pitching staff shake out. However, it’s clear now that Padilla wants to be a starter.

In fact, during an appearance on WEEI in Boston this morning the veteran right-hander said he signed with the Red Sox because “this is a great opportunity to be a starter” and “I like starting … I’ve started for a long time.”

He’s right about that, as Padilla hasn’t made double-digit relief appearances in a season since 2001, but the Dodgers were using him as a reliever prior to neck surgery last season. Apparently he never liked that role and chose the Red Sox specifically because “other teams needed me as a reliever.”

He may soon find out that the Red Sox need, or at least want, him as a reliever too, but in the meantime Padilla will compete for a rotation spot while trying to prove he’s healthy at age 34. He’ll first have to make the team, period, to collect the $1.5 million roster incentive on his minor-league contract.

Michael Wacha leaves game with a left oblique strain

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Cardinals starter Michael Wacha suffered a strained left oblique muscle during his start this afternoon against the Phillies, causing him to leave in the fourth inning.

Wacha is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a 71/36 K/BB ratio in 84.1 innings across 15 starts this season with St. Louis. To the extent he has to miss some time — and obliques invariably send starters to the disabled list — potential fill-in candidates include John Gant, Daniel Poncedeleon and Dakota Hudson.