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Wakefield's Saturday start a milestone

Wakefield's Saturday start a milestone

ARLINGTON -- Tim Wakefield will pitch his 500th game for the Red Sox on Saturday.

Bob Stanley is the only other pitcher in club history to appear in at least 500 games with 637 to his credit. Wakefield will become the first pitcher in club history to start at least 350 of his 500 outings with the Red Sox, and the 23rd pitcher to reach those milestones with one team in Major League history.

Suffice it is to say, Wakefield has been a mainstay for the Red Sox since joining the club in 1995.

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Mark Kotsay, on the other hand, has been with the Red Sox for only eight games. While he may be out of the lineup on Saturday with left-hander Matt Harrison going on the mound for Texas, Kotsay has proven invaluable to a Boston team that's been decimated by injuries but is just 2 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay in the American League East.

"We're happy with him," manager Terry Francona said. "Where he hits -- we feel like he could hit anywhere."

Francona proved that Friday when he put Kotsay in the cleanup spot. And entering Saturday, Kotsay has played in all but one game since joining the club.

He's primarily filled in as the club's right fielder with J.D. Drew battling a herniated disc in his back. However, in the past two games, Kotsay has played first base with Kevin Youkilis missing Wednesday's game with back spasms and Friday's game due to personal reasons.

With as many injuries as Francona has had to work around, a healthy Kotsay, whose battled his own share of injuries in the past, has been a welcome addition.

"He's played all but one game, so there's not a whole lot of adjusting he's had to do," Francona said. "He's been a pleasure for us. He's done a great job of acclimating himself to the club."

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (8-9, 3.76 ERA)
Wakefield did his part against the mighty White Sox lineup his last time out, holding Chicago to three runs on six hits in six innings of work on Sunday. After allowing two runs in the first, Wakefield blanked the South Siders over the next four innings -- giving Boston more than enough leeway to claim victory. Unfortunately for the veteran knuckleballer, the Sox were unable to get their bats going and he suffered the loss. Wakefield takes on Texas this time around, a team he defeated in a 6-5 win on April 20.

TEX: LHP Matt Harrison (6-3, 5.73 ERA)
Harrison threw two flawless innings Monday, which makes the other 3 2/3 that much more disappointing. In 5 2/3 innings, Harrison allowed five runs (four earned) on 10 hits, despite not walking a batter for the second time this season and striking out three. Harrison was handed a two-run lead going into the sixth, but turned around and allowed a run on three hits before getting pulled. He wasn't alone, as the Mariners tacked on 10 more hits and seven more runs off the bullpen. Harrison will try to lower his 5.26 home ERA Sunday against the Red Sox, whom he has yet to face.

Tidbits
Only 45 pitchers in Major League history before Wakefield have pitched in at least 500 games with one club. Only seven active players have pitched in 500 games for one team: Trevor Hoffman with the Padres, Mariano Rivera with the Yankees, Eddie Guardado with the Twins, Troy Percival with the Angels, Kenny Rogers with the Rangers and Tom Glavine with the Braves. Of Wakefield's 500 appearances with Boston, more than 350 have been starts. Only Glavine and John Smoltz have reached those milestones among active pitchers. Twenty retired pitchers have also reached those milestones. In his career against Texas, Wakefield is 10-14 with a 5.66 ERA in 32 appearances, spanning 162 1/3 innings.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

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

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680, SBN 1150 (Español)

Up next
• Sunday: Red Sox (Paul Byrd, 10-11, 4.58) at Rangers (Brandon McCarthy, 1-0, 2.25), 3:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 13-5, 3.37) vs. Rays (Edwin Jackson, 11-9, 4.07), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 16-2, 2.88) vs. Rays (Scott Kazmir, 11-6, 2.99), 7:05 p.m. ET

Shawn Shroyer 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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