Red Sox exercise Wakefield's $4 million option

BOSTON (AP) - Tim Wakefield's $4 million option for 2009 was exercised by the Boston Red Sox on Friday.

The 42-year-old knuckleballer was 10-11 with a 4.13 ERA in 30 starts this year, his 14th season with Boston. He is second in club history with 1,797 strikeouts and has 164 wins for Boston, 28 behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young, who share the team lead with 192.

Wakefield struggled in the fourth game of the AL championship series when Tampa Bay went ahead three games to one with a 13-4 victory. In 2 2-3 innings, Wakefield allowed three homers and five runs. He also pitched poorly in two of his last five regular-season starts, giving up a total of 13 runs in four innings in those two games.

He is working under a contract that gives the team the option to renew it on an annual basis at $4 million.

Also on Friday, right hander Curt Schilling, who was sidelined all year after shoulder surgery, declared for free agency.

Schilling had said earlier this month if he didn't retire, he would consider pitching in the second half next season.

The six-time All-Star was signed with the Red Sox only for 2008 at $8 million. In 20 major league seasons, he is 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts. His 11-2 postseason record is the best of any pitcher with 10 or more wins and he has a 2.23 ERA in 19 starts.

Schilling's surgeon, Dr. Craig Morgan, said in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month that Schilling told him he wants to pitch for a championship contender and would go "to the highest bidder." He said Schilling would need to decide by about Dec. 1 whether to pitch again in order to have enough time for serious rehabilitation that could get him back by midseason.

Bartolo Colon (4-2, 3.92 ERA) also filed for free agency Friday. The right-hander was placed on the Red Sox restricted list when he left the team in September for personal reasons. He was out from mid-June until early September with a lower back strain. Schilling's injury influenced Boston to sign the 2005 Cy Young award winner in February to a minor league contract worth $1.2 million plus performance and roster bonuses.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)