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Ohka set to face former team

Ohka set to face former team

Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells stood at his locker following Tuesday's win, answering numerous questions about Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. Toronto had just faced the Japanese right-hander for the first time and narrowly escaped with a 2-1 victory.

"He's just another guy in their rotation who's going to challenge you," Wells said. "It's fun facing guys like that. Along with him, [Curt] Schilling and [Josh] Beckett -- all those guys have great arms."

One reporter quickly chimed in, "And the knuckleballer?"

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Wells stopped and smiled at the thought of the pitch that Boston's Tim Wakefield would likely send dancing toward home plate on Wednesday night, when the Jays host the Red Sox in the second game of a three-game set.

"We don't need to talk about Wakefield," Wells said with a laugh. "I'm not a big fan of facing him."

A day after Dice-K mania, the Blue Jays will send their own Japanese starter to the mound. Toronto right-hander Tomo Ohko -- a native of Kyoto, Japan -- will make his first appearance against the Red Sox, who he pitched for from 1999-2001.

Ohka has gotten off to a rough start this season. In his Thursday outing, the 31-year-old took the loss after allowing four earned runs on eight hits over six innings against the Tigers. That appearance followed a disappointing performance against Tampa Bay on April 7, when he allowed five runs on six hits over 4 1/3 innings.

In Wakefield's last start, his signature knuckleball had extra bite on a brisk Friday at Fenway, where the 40-year-old starter shut down the Angels. Wakefield gave up just five hits and one run in seven innings, lowering his season ERA to a sparkling 1.38.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (1-1, 1.38 ERA)
Wakefield is 12-8 with a 3.93 ERA in 40 career appearances against the Blue Jays.

TOR: RHP Tomo Ohka (0-1, 7.84 ERA)
Ohka has never faced Boston, but he is 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA in his career at Rogers Centre.

Player to watch
Toronto right fielder Alex Rios has hit .385 (5-for-13) with one home run, one double, one triple and three RBIs in his career against Wakefield.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• RSN

On radio
• CKTB 610 AM

Up next
• Thursday: Red Sox (Julian Tavarez, 0-1, 9.00) at Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 2-0, 2.35), 12:37 p.m. ET
• Friday: Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett, 1-1, 7.07) at Orioles (Daniel Cabrera, 1-1, 3.66), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Blue Jays (Josh Towers, 1-1, 2.03) at Orioles (Adam Loewen, 1-0, 3.95), 7:05 p.m. ET

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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