No one, especially Wells, wants to consider the possibility that the 43-year-old may have thrown his last pitch in a Major League game. But he did try to maintain a sense of humor when asked which doctor will be giving him his latest exam.
"Dr. Seuss, that's the doctor," he quipped.
For the record, Dr. Jan Fronek will be looking at Wells' knee, which was drilled by a Travis Lee liner on May 26 at Fenway Park. Fronek was also the doctor who scoped and cleaned out the same knee over the winter.
"I think the word I used the first night [May 26] was 'trauma,' " said manager Terry Francona. "He's got a bad knee, and it got smoked, and I just don't think that goes away just because you want it to."
Wells couldn't be blamed for being short and sarcastic with reporters as Francona attempted to categorize a situation that appears uncertain at best.
"It just hurts," said Francona. "He's having a tough time putting any weight on it. He tried riding the [stationary] bike and wasn't real successful in that. We sat and talked for a while [on Monday], and since this was the guy that was inside that knee, he felt comfortable with [seeing Fronek]."
Wells has made just two starts this season after leading the Red Sox with 15 wins in 2005.
"We're right in the middle of having Dr. [Thomas] Gill send those [X-rays]. He's not doing [well]. He's having a tough time. I talked to [general manager] Theo [Epstein], and we all think it's the right thing to do," said Francona said of Wells' upcoming West Coast trip.
Pain in the neck: Lenny DiNardo was given an epidural on Tuesday to alleviate the pain in his neck, pain that sent him to the disabled list following his May 21 start in Philadelphia. The lefty was eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday, but Francona said that the hurler had sustained a setback on Sunday.
Timlin's progress: Francona acknowledged on Tuesday that he may have been a little too optimistic when he first thought that reliever Mike Timlin (out with a right shoulder strain) might be able to return by the weekend series with the Rangers.
"He's going to throw today a little farther, and then he's going to start stretching out and do the same thing [Wednesday] and take Thursday off," Francona said. "My original hope was too early -- not because he's not doing well, I think he's doing great. I just think the progression is going to take three or four days longer. He needs to throw on the side. Tuesday or Wednesday is probably a little more realistic."
This and that: The callup of right-hander Craig Hansen helps take some of the burden off reliever Keith Foulke, who continues to nurse a strained back. Entering Tuesday's action, Foulke had not appeared in a game since May 31, in Toronto. The right-hander kept mum before Tuesday's game about his physical condition. Meanwhile, Francona said on Tuesday that lefty reliever Mike Holtz (left elbow strain) and outfielder Gabe Kapler (right Achilles) continue to do well in their extended Spring Training work in Fort Myers, Fla. Francona said that Kapler could be headed to Triple-A Pawtucket to begin his official Minor League rehab within the week.
Pitching in: There was a time during Monday's loss to the Yankees that the worst-case scenario of any manager during a blowout crossed Francona's mind -- using a position player as a reliever. The manager's thoughts explain why infielder Alex Cora didn't come into the one-sided game as a early replacement.
"In the second inning, I was [concerned]," Francona said. "As the game progressed, I thought we could cover it. I held him back later than normal in a game like that because I was concerned about it. But then we got deep enough [into the game], I thought we were OK."
Coming up: After a no-decision in his last start, Curt Schilling (8-2, 3.86 ERA) takes another run at his ninth win of the season as he makes his third start against the Yankees. He is 1-1 this year against New York, including a 7-3 loss to Mike Mussina in the Bronx on May 10. Schilling will be opposed by right-hander Jaret Wright (3-3, 4.12 ERA).