Wakefield could rejoin rotation Monday

Wakefield could rejoin rotation Monday

BOSTON -- After meeting with the Red Sox's medical staff before Wednesday's game against the Angels, Tim Wakefield decided that he will continue on his current path and make every effort to rejoin the rotation, perhaps as early as Monday in Kansas City.

The veteran knuckleballer has a loose fragment in his back that is not only causing considerable discomfort, but also a strength deficit in his left leg.

"I can pitch," Wakefield said. "As of today, I can pitch. The meeting we had basically was to determine whether or not it was safe for me to continue to pitch, because my strength has gone down. We wanted to get everybody together and decide. I'll throw another side [session] Friday [in Baltimore] and see how it feels from there. As of now, I'm planning on pitching either Sunday or Monday."

Manager Terry Francona announced that Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch Sunday at Camden Yards, leaving Monday as Wakefield's earliest possibility to pitch in the rotation.

While the 43-year-old Wakefield has steadfastly kept his desire to pitch despite the discomfort, the Red Sox continue to struggle with what the right course of action is.

"I can't imagine pitching being real good for it," said Francona. "We're trying to stay on top of it as much as we can and just make sure everybody's on the same page, and we'll make our decisions."

Wakefield is all but certain to have surgery once the season ends. The recovery time is expected to be minimal, and the right-hander will be ready to start Spring Training on time.

Wakefield made the American League All-Star team on the strength of an 11-win first half. But the back problem cropped up right after the break, limiting him to two starts since.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.