Wakefield moving to Red Sox bullpen

SEATTLE -- Tim Wakefield is heading to the Boston Red Sox bullpen when two-time All-Star Josh Beckett returns from the disabled list Friday to make his first start since mid-May.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said dryly before Thursday night's series opener at Seattle that "I don't think he wanted to hug me" after telling the 43-year-old knuckleballer he was going to be a reliever again.

Francona says it's what's best for the struggling team. Boston began Thursday 2-5 since the All-Star break and seven games out in the AL East.

"When guys don't like it, or don't understand it, we try to explain it to them," said Francona. "It's no different with Wake than it is with anybody else. We've known Wake a long time and we know what he's accomplished, but regardless of who you are, we try to have the same attitude. We put the team first."

Wakefield tossed a bullpen session Thursday and when he was done throwing he did not want to talk about the move even though he knew it was coming.

"No comment," he said.

Wakefield allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in only two-plus innings against the Athletics on Tuesday in Oakland.

"If we need him again [in the rotation], which I have no doubt we will, some of how we use Wake will be determined how everybody else does," Francona said. "He's probably not a situational guy."

Wakefield was selected for the All-Star team last season for the first time but is 3-8 with a 5.58 ERA this season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.