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Wakefield, Tavarez returning to Boston

Wake, Tavarez returning to Boston

BOSTON -- On the eve of the 2007 World Series, Tim Wakefield made a surprise appearance at Red Sox manager Terry Francona's press conference to explain why shoulder and back problems would keep him out of the Fall Classic.

"I don't think it's fair to the 24 guys that are in the clubhouse," Wakefield said. "And I don't think it's fair to the organization, and I don't think it's fair to me, lastly, that I go out there and injure myself, and I'm not available for next year or the year after that."

The World Series champs rewarded Wakefield on Friday, picking up his $4 million option for the 2008 season. Next year will be his 14th in Boston, extending the longest tenure of any current Red Sox player.

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Also on Friday, general manager Theo Epstein announced that the Sox had picked up the 2008 option on right-hander Julian Tavarez; plus, catcher Kevin Cash elected for free agency after declining an outright assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket.

In addition, Epstein named the player acquired by Boston in the July 31 trade of Joel Pineiro to St. Louis. Outfielder Sean Danielson, 25, combined to hit .296 with four home runs, 36 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 103 games between Class A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield in the Cardinals organization. Danielson drew 39 walks against 46 strikeouts, finishing the season with a .371 on-base percentage.

Wakefield went 17-12 in 2007, matching a career high in wins, which was set in '98, and he finished with a 4.76 ERA. Despite struggling through an injury-plagued September, the knuckler compiled 31 starts, second best on the team behind Daisuke Matsuzaka (32).

"I was able to pitch for a good team," Wakefield said on Oct. 15 before his American League Championship Series Game 4 start against the Indians. "They scored me runs when I needed to score runs, and I pitched well when I needed to pitch well and felt lucky that I pitched on the right days sometimes."

Tavarez made 23 starts in the Red Sox's rotation, going 7-11 with a 5.15 ERA, but he was valued more for his versatility in a season in which he hurled 134 2/3 innings over 34 games.

Cash went 3-for-27 in August and September while serving mainly as an injury replacement for Doug Mirabelli, Wakefield's personal catcher.

Mirabelli filed for free agency on Thursday.

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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