BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox need Tim Wakefield to pitch deep into the game for his second straight start. They don’t even need him to flirt with a no-hitter.

Wakefield came within five outs of pitching one for the first time in his 17-year career and ended up with a complete-game, 8-2 win at Oakland last Wednesday.

With the Red Sox facing a day-night doubleheader after Tuesday night’s game with the Minnesota Twins was rained out about an hour after its scheduled start, they’d like Wakefield to rack up the innings in the opener to limit the strain on the bullpen.

“Anytime you’re going to be pressed into 18 innings in one day, you certainly hope that your starters are going to go deep in the game,” Boston pitching coach John Farrell said, “but I think anytime that you look at 18 innings in one day, there is some concern what kind of lingering effects it can have that go into the following day.”

Wakefield’s start against Oakland came one day after Red Sox relievers pitched 11 innings.

The Red Sox have an off day Thursday, but that could be used as another makeup day if there’s another rainout since the Twins are not scheduled to play in Boston again. The possibility of precipitation is 70 percent for Wednesday night.

The Red Sox Triple-A team at Pawtucket has an afternoon game Wednesday about an hour south of Boston. If necessary, “we can always do something” to help the bullpen for the night game against the Twins, manager Terry Francona said.

Wakefield will face Minnesota’s Scott Baker, the same matchup that was set for Tuesday night. Boston’s Brad Penny goes against Francisco Liriano in the night game.

The Twins also have bullpen concerns, but they could be worse.

An MRI on right-hander Jesse Crain, who went on the disabled list Monday, showed no serious damage, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

“Talking to our trainers, they thought we could get away without” putting him on the disabled list, Gardenhire said. “But, probably, at this time of year, you can’t go with him sitting out for five days without throwing.

“He should come right off. He’s not going to throw at all until we get back.”

The Twins return home Monday night to face Tampa Bay after a three-game series in Cleveland.

They recalled left-hander Jose Mijares from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday to replace Crain on the roster. Mijares was 1-0 with one save in five minor league appearances, all in relief, this season.

The rain held off long enough for Daisuke Matsuzaka to throw briefly in the afternoon. Matsuzaka, who went on the disabled list last Wednesday with a right shoulder strain, made 30 throws from 60 feet.

He’ll do the same Wednesday then take Thursday off.

“We’ll take these first five or six days of his throwing program at a very gradual pace,” Farrell said.

“He’s still in a strengthening phase and really still letting that inflammation calm down.”

He said Matsuzaka would make an undetermined number of rehab appearances before returning to the Red Sox but gave no timetable.

John Smoltz, also on the disabled list, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday and could pitch live batting practice or two innings of an extended spring game on Saturday.

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