August 2009

Dice-K in English

Daisuke Matsuzaka surprised one and all by opening his briefing with Red Sox beat writers — and the NESN camera — in English today. Here is what he said regarding the recent controversy.

And, by the way, his English was very impressive, easy to understand. I can’t imagine speaking Japanese like he spoke English. One other thing to note. Matsuzaka looked noticeably leaner then when he last pitched for the Red Sox on June 19.

“I want to clear up a few things,” said Matsuzaka. “It was not my intention to make the meeting public or to criticize the Red Sox. The person who wrote the article is my old, old friend. I still trust her and this has never happened before. Training, no problem. No problem with the Red Sox. We will work it all out. I want to thank all my fans for their support and I can’t wait to see all of you when I go back to Fenway Park. Thank you.”

Another tropical, er, Tropicana night

Here at the Trop. Where are all of you on this nice summer night?

Just to give you a quick update, Tim Wakefield’s back and shoulder feel great, but his calf has been stiff, very stiff. Seems to be a nerve issue. That said, the knuckleballer is doing better than a few days ago, and could throw a side session tomorrow.

Dice-K will throw his first side since going on the DL next week, either Tuesday or Wednesday. You won’t see the Dice Man pitch for the Sox until September.

Still nothing on the David Ortiz situation, as the slugger is waiting for the Players Association to get his test results from the Federal Government to figure out exactly what he tested positive for in 2003.

Closing in on a sweep in Bird-land

Talk about a get-well weekend for the offense. John Smoltz and Clay Buchholz have both had starts they’d like to forget, but it appears as though the Sox will still give the Orioles the broom treatment.

The one night the offense didn’t cash in a lot, they didn’t need to, because Beckett was Beckett again.

Remember all that panic a week ago? It didn’t take long for the Red Sox to get their swagger back. Everything that Victor Martinez hits is hard. Mike Lowell continues to look great when rested. Youkilis and Ellsbury are more scorching than the Baltimore weather.

Six big games coming up, two at Tampa Bay and four in the Bronx. The Red Sox are going into it with a nice wave of momentum.

Kottaras survives roster shuffle

I find it interesting that the Red Sox found a way to keep George Kottaras in the organization, even after trading for Victor Martinez.

Obviously they’ve come to truly value Kottaras, both in terms of his defensive skills, and the way he’s handled Tim Wakefield.

Instead of designating him for assignment — Kottaras is out of options — the Red Sox put him on the disabled list with a lower back strain. Kottaras should be back right around the time Wakefield comes off the DL.

Down the stretch, the Red Sox will have three catchers on their roster, so you wonder what happens to Casey Kotchman at that point, since Martinez is also being utilized at first base.

Oh well, I’m sure they will all manuver it in a way that makes sense.

FYI, Jon Lester and Brad Penny were flip-flopped in the rotation. Lester will now pitch Tuesday at the Trop, followed by Penny on Wednesday. This way, Lester is in line to face the Yankees on Sunday night.

It is hot and steamy in Baltimore tonight.

Can you believe Victor Martinez getting a standing ovation in his first at-bat for the Red Sox in a road game? Sox Nation — as Kevin MIllar calls it — is really something.