Boomer roughed up in rehab start

Boomer roughed up in rehab start

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- David Wells was able to put a shaky rehab start into proper context Friday night.

The veteran left-hander was here to get in his rehab work.

"[I was pleased I] just as long as I went out there and felt OK," Wells said after giving up seven runs and six hits in five innings while pitching for the Pawtucket Red Sox against Indianapolis in the second International League game of the season for both teams. "It [stinks] to go out and give up seven runs and not have your best stuff, but it's a situation for me to go out there and pitch in conditions like this and respond good, instead of having to fight myself being stiff and all that.

"To me, it's a good day and then it's a bad day."

It was good because Wells, coming back after offseason right knee surgery, had no physical problems pitching on a damp, chilly night that left him with "no feel" for the baseball -- thus no curveball. It was bad because a 42-year-old pitcher who has had so much success in his career "hates to lose" -- and to also hear boos on a rehab assignment.

Wells, who initially asked the Red Sox to trade him to a West Coast team this offseason before rescinding that demand during Spring Training, seemed ready to get back to work, for real this time.

But you could tell he wasn't happy with the results.

His one-word answer to how his night went couldn't be printed. "Oh, excuse me -- terrible," he said.

Making his first Minor League appearance since 1994, Wells gave up two solo homers and a pair of two-run doubles while throwing 92 pitches, 62 for strikes. Always known for his control, Wells walked three and hit a batter while striking out one.

He said he threw 74 pitches in an extended spring start in Florida last week and expects to pitch next Wednesday, after opting to take the Triple-A start rather than an a Class A outing in Florida so he could get used to the colder weather. He considers himself a tough cold-weather pitcher, but only if he's getting the ball where he wants it.

When asked why his night was "terrible," Wells said, "Everything. Physically, I felt great, nothing like that, but just the conditions -- I had no feel for the ball at all.

"When you don't [have] that, you don't make the pitches, you fight yourself and basically the ball's down the middle; they know it. You can't throw a curveball or anything else. I just stuck to the changeup and fastball, and you saw the results of that.

"It is what it is, it's a bad night. No excuses."

Asked if he thought he needed to make another start in the Minors, Wells, said, "No."

His night began with a bloop single, a walk and hit batter before he got an out -- a sacrifice fly by first baseman Brad Eldred. Designated hitter Yurendell de Caster then ripped a two-run double over third base that Wells thought was foul but was called fair by one of the three college umpires working in place of striking Minor League umps.

Second baseman Gookie Dawkins opened the second with a home run and, after Wells worked a perfect third, de Caster started the fourth with a long homer. Catcher Ronny Paulino, Wells' only strikeout victim (three straight called strikes in the first inning), ripped a two-run double into the gap in right-center to make it 6-0 in the fifth. Wells retired the next hitter to finish his night.

Wells laughed off the booing, saying, "Obviously, they were expecting a shutout, but, sorry, my bad."

Mike Shalinis a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.