Wakefield feeling good after surgery

December, 5, 2009

PUNTA CANA, Domincan Republic -- Less than two months removed from back surgery, Tim Wakefield was swinging a golf club again. Nothing crazy, he hastened to explain at David Ortiz's charity golf event Saturday afternoon, but an indication of how he has progressed.

"I feel phenomenal,'' Wakefield said. "The surgeons did a great job, and I'm getting my strength back as we speak. I will be 100 percent by spring training, I promise you that.''

Wakefield recently reworked his contract with the Red Sox, signing a two-year, $5 million deal with escalators built in depending on the number of innings he pitches. That replaces the unique $4 million contract that rolled over annually.

Wakefield, who was an All-Star for the first time last season at age 42, says this will probably be his last contract, but I don't think he's absolutely certain of that. Despite all of his health issues, he has thrown at least 180 innings in five of the last six seasons, and if he feels OK, and his family is on board, he may follow in the footsteps of fellow knuckleballers Hoyt Wilhelm, Charlie Hough and Phil Niekro, all of whom pushed past their 45th birthday. Hough was 46 and Niekro 48 when they retired, and Wilhelm was 16 days short of his 50th birthday when he ended his career.

Wakefield has 189 career wins, 175 of which have come with the Sox. He needs 11 for 200 career wins, 18 to pass Roger Clemens and Cy Young for most wins in a Red Sox uniform, 192. Wakefield has set both as goals, and both are well within reach.


Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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