Red Sox notebook

Rotation decisions to come

Roles unsure for Wakefield, Miller

Jonathan Papelbon set the A’s down in the ninth, then celebrated the 4-0 nightcap victory. Jonathan Papelbon set the A’s down in the ninth, then celebrated the 4-0 nightcap victory. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / August 28, 2011

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Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the team will address the future use of Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller after the Yankees series, which begins Tuesday and ends Thursday. At that point, Francona may decide which of the two will remain in the rotation.

The Sox have been using six starters, but now with two offdays, they will likely go back to a five-man rotation.

Wakefield is still searching for his 200th win after six attempts. In some of those outings, he pitched well enough to win; in others, like Friday night, he did not.

The Sox don’t always put out the best lineups when Wakefield pitches, and they don’t seem to play well behind him. Wakefield has the largest disparity between runs and earned runs on the team. He has allowed 89 runs, only 74 of which were earned.

John Lackey has also allowed 89 runs, but only three unearned. Josh Beckett has given up 45 runs, only one unearned. Jon Lester has allowed two unearned runs.

Miller is coming off two solid starts, in which he allowed one earned run over 12 innings. The Sox would love to continue developing the 26-year-old lefthander for next season’s rotation.

With a playoff rotation that will likely include Beckett, Lester, Lackey, and Erik Bedard, the Sox must consider what role Miller could play in the postseason.

Could he be used as a situational lefty out of the bullpen? He did strike out Josh Hamilton three times in Thursday’s start in Texas, a sign he could help in that regard. But past control issues may not make him ideal for pressure situations.

The Sox have given no indication that the 200-win milestone for Wakefield is any kind of priority. They have said all along that they’re out to win games. Bedard turns out OK Bedard told Francona around the third inning his left knee was sore. Bedard missed about a month with a sprain in that knee prior to being traded to the Sox from Seattle. Bedard, however, said the knee loosened up and started feeling better and didn’t see it as a concern.

Bedard had to pitch in sloppy conditions and “was trying not to slip,’’ according to Francona. Bedard went four-plus scoreless innings in the Sox’ 4-0 win in the nightcap.

Francona praised the work of reliever Alfredo Aceves, who followed Bedard and threw three no-hit innings to improve to 9-1 this season and 23-2 for his career.

“Tremendous,’’ said Francona. “It set up our whole bullpen.’’

Up-and-down season Before yesterday’s first game, a 9-3 victory, the Sox sent Scott Atchison back to Pawtucket and recalled Michael Bowden, who got into the game after the second rain delay in the eighth inning. These two guys have been like yo-yos going up and down this season, each with four trips to Fenway.

It’s been frustrating for Atchison, who has a 4.42 ERA in 10 appearances.

“It’s just worked out that when I’ve come up that something has gone wrong early and I’ve had to work on a lot of innings,’’ he said. “Not much I can do about it.

“It’s good and bad, but it’s definitely made this year tougher going up and down. I think I’ve thrown pretty well. Have to keep showing I can do it, but it just didn’t work out this time.’’

“I don’t enjoy it,’’ said Francona about having to keep telling Atchison he’s going down. “Sometimes his role is determined by how someone else pitches.

“It’s unfortunate. Guys get in that position sometimes because he has options. That won’t happen next year. You don’t take pleasure in it, for sure.’’

It’s expected that Atchison will be recalled again this week when rosters expand. The Sox have a contract option on him for next year but he won’t have any more minor league options.

Drew on target J.D. Drew said his rehab is going according to plan and he should be on course to be added to the roster in September. Drew said his shoulder is showing more strength, though it won’t be 100 percent the rest of the season. He could have surgery, but he has yet to decide whether he wants to play next season. He has had his worst major league season, but he said, “If I can swing the bat and drive the ball like I think I can now, it won’t be a lost season. I can still help this team in the playoffs. I just hope to get that chance.’’ . . . Dan Wheeler made his 43d appearance in Game 1. It’s doubtful he will reach the 65-game mark he needs to have his 2012 option kick in at $3 million. Wheeler has pitched very well after a shaky start, but is used mostly in mop-up roles. Yet, since 2007, he has held righthanded hitters to a .189 average, the best in baseball . . . Oakland’s reward for a day off today? Five days in Cleveland . . . Zach Kapstein of Tiverton, R.I., ended his Gulf Coast League season with a home run. The 19-year-old OF/1B/DH/C hit .400 with six RBIs, with a .979 OPS in 60 at-bats.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.

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