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Dice-K's Sore Back Forces Rotation Shuffle, Lester Will Start Friday

When Daisuke Matsuzaka's back began acting up while throwing on Wednesday, the Red Sox quickly shut him down, which cause the team to scramble and readjust their rotation, and forced Tim Wakefield into an emergency start situation.

"Daisuke went out to throw in-between games and he tightened up pretty quick. It was pretty apparent that he was throwing from flat ground and it tightened up," said Francona. "So they kind of came in a hurry. John Farrell came in the back, we got the doctor and I think [Sox doctor] Pete Asnis was here.

Dice-K was set to start Friday, and Jon Lester was scheduled to pitch in Wednesday nights nightcap against the Mariners, but now he'll take the series opener against the Rays.

Friday: Lester vs. Price

Saturday: Buchholz vs. Garza

Sunday: Lackey vs. Shields

It was Wakefield's first start since June 20, and he managed pretty well, surrendering three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings while scattering eight hits.

"That's not easy to do, but Wake really did a good job and stepped up for us when we needed it," said Francona. "It's a lot to ask, but he did a very good job. We have multiple guys that would volunteer. [Scott Atchison] has done it before. That's not an issue. But to take the ball and facing one of the better pitchers in the league we gave ourselves a chance to win. I think we're all impressed with the way he handled himself."