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Tavarez called to duty again

Tavarez called to duty again

Here he comes again, his arm ready for whatever abuse is needed.

Julian Tavarez is one of baseball's rare physical specimens, a career reliever who can join a starting rotation after a four-year break -- as he did last year -- or start on a single day's notice.

The Red Sox wanted to make it through Friday's day-night doubleheader before they announced that Tavarez would make a spot start on Sunday against the Angels. There was still a chance on Friday, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said, that they could have used Tavarez in relief.

Tavarez has said repeatedly that he'll fill any role that Francona needs, no questions asked. The righty once told the Boston media that he needed just 45 minutes' notice before starting.

"I do whatever it takes out there," he said back in June. "I take this game like this is my last game of my career. Every time I go to the mound, this is what I think. I don't think about next time."

The Red Sox chose to slot Tavarez on Sunday in order to realign their rotation for the next three weeks. The move will allow Tim Wakefield to start on Monday against the Devil Rays, against whom he owns an 18-2 career record.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (6-8, 5.12 ERA)
The Red Sox last called upon Tavarez to start on Aug. 1. He completed five innings, allowing three earned runs and seven hits in an eventual 5-4 Sox win over the Orioles. He has a 5.28 ERA this year as a starter and a 3.16 career ERA against the Angels.

LAA: LHP Joe Saunders (6-1, 3.50 ERA)
Saunders, a 26-year-old left-hander on pace to set a career high in innings, owns a 6-1 record this year with a 3.50 ERA. He gave up four earned runs in his last start against the Red Sox on Aug. 7. On Aug. 26, 2006, Saunders gave up two runs against Boston in 5 2/3 innings, neither of them earned. He has never pitched at Fenway Park.

Player to watch
Recent callup Bobby Kielty is expected to get his first start for the Red Sox in right field against Saunders.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 14-10, 4.55) at Devil Rays (Scott Kazmir, 9-7, 3.44), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 1-0, 5.14) at Devil Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 2-8, 6.17), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 13-9, 3.79) at Devil Rays (Edwin Jackson, 3-12, 5.69), 7:10 p.m. ET

Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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