Following an ugly offseason and an unsightly rehab start, David Wells hopes his swan song goes a lot smoother.
Winding down a career that has seen him pitch for eight teams, including two stints apiece with Toronto and the New York Yankees, Wells brings a 227-143 record and 4.06 ERA into his season debut.
He underwent offseason knee surgery and, since Boston manager Terry Francona did not need want to open the season with five starters, the team began the year with Wells on the disabled list. That decision did not please Wells, who earlier in the offseason had asked to be traded to a West Coast team, closer to his home in San Diego.
However, Wells settled for remaining in a Boston uniform and also agreed to make a rehab start in the minors, his first since 1994. That outing for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday did not go well as he gave up seven runs and six hits in five innings.
“It is what it is, it’s a bad night,” he said. “No excuses.”
Wells, however, did say cold weather had a negative effect.
“Physically, I felt great, nothing like that, but just the conditions. I had no feel for the ball, at all,” said Wells, who went 15-7 with a 4.45 ERA in 30 starts last season, his first with Boston.
“When you don’t (have) that, you don’t make the pitches, you fight yourself and basically the ball’s down the middle, they know it. You can’t throw a curveball or anything else, I just stuck to the changeup and fastball and you saw the results of that. I have to have all my pitches to be effective.”
Game-time temperature for this contest is expected to be around 60 degrees.
If Wells can pull off a solid effort, a pitcher 17 years his junior could get a shot at what would be his league-leading fifth save.
Jonathan Papelbon has been a pleasant surprise in helping Boston (6-1) get off to a strong start. He pitched a perfect ninth inning on Tuesday to convert his fourth save in as many chances as Boston beat Toronto 5-3 in the opener of this three-game series.
In five appearances this season, Papelbon has pitched five scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five. He has been used in the closer’s role over veteran closer Keith Foulke, who has made his last two appearances setting up for Papelbon.
The Red Sox also have gotten a solid contribution from Mike Lowell, who went 4-for-4 with three doubles and an RBI on Tuesday. Acquired in the offseason from Florida, Lowell is batting .320 with a homer and four RBIs through seven games after a disappointing 2005 season during which he hit .236 with eight home runs.
“Any time you’re in a new situation, a new team, I think it’s only natural to want to make a good impression,” Lowell said.
The veteran third baseman will be getting his first look at Toronto left-hander Gustavo Chacin, who looks to build on a successful season debut.
He earned a win, pitching 6 2-3 innings and allowing three runs in a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.
“He picked up right where he left off last year,” Toronto manager Josh Gibbons said.
As a rookie last season, Chacin tied for the team lead with 13 wins and had a 3.72 ERA. However, he was ripped for nine runs and 18 hits in 8 2-3 innings at Fenway Park last season despite going 1-0 with a 5.52 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays (3-4) have been held to a total of five runs in their last two games after averaging 6.4 runs through their first five contests.