Fort Myers, Florida
All winter long, Sox fans, media and probably many of the Sox hierarchy have been penciling Jon Lester and Clay Buckholz in as the number 4 and 5 starters in the Red Sox rotation. If this past weekend is any indication, then there's a little trouble in Red Sox Nation. Lester and Buckholz had bad initial outings. Maybe the Bartolo Colon pickup isn't so crazy, after all. But, there's another guy in the mix. One who has already been there.
In two seasons with the Red Sox, 34 year old Julian Tavarez has made 92 appearances....29 of those were starts. With Curt Schilling relegated to early morning rehab and a quick duck out from the training facilities and the young pitchers still trying to prove themselves, Tavares isn't exactly out of the picture.
That kind of opens the door for a lot of people including tavares. Where does he see himself ?
"Well, I see myself fighting for the 5th spot.", said the vetteran righthander. " I can't tell you where I'm going to be yet because i've been told since I got here that I'm going to be fighting for the number 5 spot. So, I can't tell you where I'm going to be yet."
As far as last year, Tavarez showed flashes of brilliance that included a stretch of 7 straight games without a loss in the early going but was relegated back to the bullpen in mid July after losing 4 of 5 decisions. He made 5 spot starts after that but was not on the Red Sox post season roster.
" I feel like I did a great job last year. I think it was a good year. Started the season healthy... I walked home with a ring and a big check. Now, I'm in pretty good shape. I'm not expecting any more than last year. This year i'm expecting to be healthy but anything can happen so I can't ask for more. "
Over the course of the season, any pitching staff is going use a number of starters with injuries ( short of sustained) popping up. So Tavarez will likely find his role on a team he really enjoys playing on.
" It's a good attitude. This is a great team makeup. It's the one thing I love in this organization. The players. We're altogether like brothers. No arguments. We're pulling for everyone, anybody on the team. We cheer these guys,C'mon, C'mon. This is the way it's been since spring training."
JJ Cioffi-Channel 3 Sports
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