Results tagged ‘ Daisuke Matsuzaka ’

Papi could be back in lineup Friday night

David Ortiz’s prolonged rehab from a right Achilles strain might finally be coming to an end, as Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine revealed that the big slugger might be activated for Friday night’s game against the Royals.

“It looked like David got through everything perfectly today,” said Valentine. “He was running the bases. Today was the day he was going to run the bases, which he hadn’t done yet. He had run sprints and done other things. Today he ran the bases. They’re going to see how he gets through it. If he gets through it, we’re planning on hopefully activating him tomorrow, but that’s the update of updates.”

Ortiz last played for the Red Sox on July 16. The Red Sox are 13-21 without him.

In other news, Felix Doubront will make his return to the rotation on Sunday. Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the ball Monday, but it sounds like  that will be for Triple-A Pawtucket instead of the Red Sox.

Adrian Gonzalez will take a night to rest his legs and serve as the DH. Mauro Gomez is starting at first base. Ryan Lavarnway is behind the plate against lefty C.J. Wilson.

Dice-K back to DL; Gomez recalled from Pawtucket

Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, one day after he was shelled during an abbreviated outing against the Athletics in which he lasted one-plus innings and threw a career-low of 28 pitches. Matsuzaka gave up four hits and five runs.

Clearly, Matsuzaka was hampered by a neck injury which prevented him from making a side session between starts. It is the same injury — to the trap muscle on the right side — that caused him discomfort during Spring Training and in late May, when he was on his Minor League rehab assignment.

To replace Matsuzaka on the roster, the Red Sox recalled corner infielder Mauro Gomez from Triple-A Pawtucket. Gomez, who had one short stint with the Red Sox earlier this season, is having a monster year at Pawtucket, hitting .311 with 19 homers and 55 RBIs. He has a .980 OPS.



Dice-K could pitch by early June

For all the drama over who will be Boston’s fourth and fifth starters, it is interesting to note that Daisuke Matsuzaka could be filling one of those slots by early June, according to Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.

Dice-K threw two simulated innings on Thursday.

“Matsuzaka threw two simulated innings. After the first four pitches, he looked pretty good,” Valentine said.

A reporter asked Valentine if July 1 was a realistic date for Dice-K’s return.

“July? I think that that’s more than realistic, yeah. We have it mapped out before that. Closer to June 1.  Yeah. I man, potentially. And there I went. I threw out a date, didn’t I?”

Game 6 Grapefruit League: Red Sox 5, Rays 0

FORT MYERS, Fla. –- Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves both continue to look capable of holding down spots in the rotation. But the question lingers: Can the bullpen survive the loss of both of them?

What went right: Bard and Aceves both looked sharp while pitching three shutout innings against the Rays. Jose Iglesias executed a hit-and-run single in the first, moving Nick Punto to third. Iglesias also squared one up in his next at-bat and reached third when B.J. Upton misplayed his line drive to right-center.

What went wrong: Iglesias misread a sign and attempted a straight steal of home, only to be thrown out. Manager Bobby Valentine said after the game that it was supposed to a fake steal of home.

What they said: “I’m not a believer in the windup, period. I don’t get it. You throw your most important pitches of the game out of the stretch so you have to be more effective out of the stretch. Men are on base when you’re pitching out of the stretch so if that’s where you can throw your best pitches, why are you teaching yourself to throw twice, two different ways? It’s a crazy thought but I think if we were just starting the game right now, we wouldn’t teach anybody a windup.” – Bobby Valentine on his disdain for the windup.

What’s next: The Red Sox travel to Sarasota on Sunday to play the Orioles in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest. Jon Lester makes the start, and Aaron Cook will come out of the bullpen in his first appearance of camp. Cook is one of several candidates vying to be Boston’s fifth starter. Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz will make the trip.

Injury update: Daisuke Matsuzaka continues to impress in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery. The righty threw a 40-pitch side session and should be on track for a return by midseason, if not sooner.

Red Sox won’t have to know Yu too well

Wow. Never thought the $51.1 million bid the Red Sox made five years ago for Daisuke Matsuzaka would be topped. But in swooped the Texas Rangers, who won the latest Japanese sensation Yu Darvish with a $51.7 million bid, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan.

The Rangers have 30 days to make a deal with Darvish, otherwise he is returned to his team in Japan.

This is a win for the Red Sox, if only because the Blue Jays were heavily rumored to have posted the winning bid on Darvish. So instead of facing Darvish five or six times a year, the Sox will only have to see him once or twice.

The AL West will be a must see division this year with Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson with the Angels, and now Darvish in Texas, assuming the sides can make a deal.

Matsuzaka wound up signing a six-year, $52 million deal. It will be interesting to see what Darvish gets from Nolan Ryan and the Rangers.

Darvish seems to be more of a pure power pitcher than Matsuzaka and also looks to have a sturdier physical presence. But how will he fare in the Texas heat?

And for all of Matsuzaka’s detractors, if Darvish can pitch the next two years like Dice-K pitched his first two years for the Sox, the Rangers have themselves a pretty good pitcher. Their goal is to make it last a lot longer than that.

Dice-K at career crossroads

For the first time since his decision to undergo Tommy John Surgery, Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka discussed his situation with the media — first American, than Japanese — in the clubhouse this morning.

It’s hard to believe all the fanfare that come with Dice-K’s arrival in Boston. Remember all the bloggers who were tracking the progress of his flight back to Boston after his dramatic signing? Remember the 300 or so people at his first press conference? The story was as heavily-covered as anything I’ve seen during my time covering the Red Sox.

Let’s face it, he was a fascination, after a brilliant career in Japan.

In those first two years, Matsuzaka was never quite the No. 1 starter many built him up to be, but he was still pretty effective. There was a 15-12 season during Year One, which included good spurts, bad spurts, and ultimately a happy ending. Matsuzaka won Game 7 of the ALCS, and Game 3 of the World Series, and it seemed the adversity he overcame in that first season would lead to better things in Year Two. And that is exactly what happened. Matsuzaka went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 2008, with an amazing ability to get himself into trouble with walks and get out of those jams with big pitches.

The first severe downward turn came in 2009, when Matsuzaka went back to the World Baseball Classic. Communication between the trainers from Team Japan and the Red Sox was shaky at best. Manager Terry Francona was openly worried that Matsuzaka would hurt himself and the team’s chances that season by not following the type of program the team had in mind. So Matsuzaka won that World Baseball Classic with Japan, and for the second time in as many tries, he was the MVP. But he came back toward the end of Spring Training not in good physical shape.

To put it kindly, the 2009 season was a disaster for Matsuzaka. He made just two ineffective starts before being placed on the disabled list with what the team called a mild right shoulder strain. Matsuzaka returned five weeks later and nothing changed. He was mostly ineffective again, and back on the DL following a disastrous start against the Braves on June 19. This time, Matsuzaka was put on the DL for a prolonged stint, in which the club mandated he get to Fort Myers and get his entire body in better shape.

Matsuzaka missed nearly three months, returning to Fenway on Sept. 15. To his credit, he came back far thinner and pitched well in his four starts at the end of that season. The Red Sox were swept out of the Division Series, and Dice-K never pitched.

He was said to have a great winter following that season, and was driven to have a bounceback year. But there was a problem right away, as Matsuzaka’s back acted up on him in the Spring, and he missed the first month of the season. There were flashes of brilliance, but a whole lot of inconsistency from Dice-K in ’10. He finished the year 9-6 with a 4.69 ERA.

Then, on to this year. He was horrendous in his first two starts, and it seemed as if everyone was going to wave their hands in the air and consider him a failed experience. Then, one last tease. Matsuzaka put together perhaps his best two Major League outings in a row, firing seven one-hit innings against the Blue Jays and hurling another one-hitter — this time over eight innings –in Anaheim. So Dice-K was back, right? Nope. Then came the April 29 start at home against the Mariners, when his control was all over the place and he left the start with elbow woes. In hindsight, that is when his UCL started to deteriorate. He pitched three more times, once out of the bullpen, and wasn’t effective in any of those games.

And now it’s on to surgery, and you wonder if the 30-year-old Matsuzaka will ever have the type of success in the Majors that many forecasted.

Matsuzaka had few answers on Sunday morning.

“It’s actually my first time to get an operation and all I can say is I’m very shocked when it comes to these results,” Matsuzaka said.

Can you return to the Red Sox before your contract ends?

“It’s difficult to say at this point. But, you know, what I can do is do my best and come back to the game as soon as I can,” said Matsuzaka.

How tough is this? “It’s difficult, but what I can do is do my best and come back to the game as soon as I can. All I have right now is anxiety, so all I can do is do what I have to do my best, and come back to the game.”

Why the surgery and not rest and rehab? “The ligament is torn and I was told to fix it perfectly, I need to have the surgery. That’s why I’m getting the surgery.”

How do you summarize your time in Boston?  “I don’t think of it that way. For sure, I hope I come back to the game again with the Red Sox uniform. If I wouldn’t come back to the game, I will have to talk about that next time.”

Fenway Friday

Some nuggets of note from Fenway, where the Red Sox are set to open a four-game series against the Twins.

Alfredo Aceves is back in the bullpen, replacing Scott Atchison, who was here for just a day. Aceves did a good job the first time he was up, and was sent back not because of performance, but because of a roster crunch. He should be particularly beneficial over the next few days, because Tim Wakefield is starting tonight, and will need some rest before he is available in the bullpen again.

Jon Lester will get some extra time before his next start. Beckett will vault ahead of him in the rotation and pitch Monday night. Lester will open the two-game series at Toronto on Tuesday.

This would set up Buchholz, Dice-K and Beckett to pitch the series in New York, though they’d have the flexibility to pitch Beckett Saturday and Lester on regular rest for the Yankees’ finale if they want to skip Matsuzaka in that series.

Dice-K on mound for Victor reunion

Major League managers don’t worry about the same things as the general public when it comes to Spring Training. For example, the fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka has given up 10 earned runs over his last two Grapefruilt League starts isn’t keeping Terry Francona awake at night.

“I’m not real concerned about anyone in camp,” Francona said. “We want to leave here healthy and have guys feeling good about themselves. I haven’t looked at anyone’s ERA. I know Daisuke got hit around a little bit the other day. I know if we took Daisuke out of the rotation tomorrow, I wouldn’t want to play for me. We’ve got to let these guys get ready.”

Matsuzaka will take the ball on Tuesday afternoon against Victor Martinez and the Detroit Tigers.

The Red Sox look forward to seeing Martinez again. In particular, Francona looks forward to seeing Martinez’s son Victor Jose, who was a regular in the clubhouse throughout last season.

“I’m actually looking forward to seeing Victor Jose. I’m hoping he’s going to be there. If you see a little kid walking around naked wearing shower shoes, that’s Victor Jose,” laughed Francona.

As for Victor Jose’s dad, the Red Sox fully appreciate what he brought to the table during his year and a half as the team’s primary catcher.
“All the things people said about him came true in a hurry,” Francona said. “Great kid, solid professional, really good hitter. That won’t change because he went to another team.”

Jarrod Saltalamacchia won’t be on tomorrow’s trip, but he enjoyed his short time as teammates with Martinez.

“It was fun,” Saltalamacchia said. “The guy plays the game every single day. He never took a day off. He worked hard, loved the game. it was cool to actually see a guy like him do that.”

And once Martinez accepted Detroit’s offer over Boston’s, it opened up a starting job for Saltalamacchia.

“I think it worked out,” Saltalamacchia said. “He went over to Detroit. I don’t know how much catching he’s going to do, but he’s set as far as knowing where he’s going to be for the next four or five years. That’s good for him and obviously it will help me out here.”

Finale in Bronx

Tough one last night, obviously. There are no other nominations for toughest loss of the year. That one took the proverbial cake, only because what was about to become Boston’s best win of the year became the toughest loss. Jonathan Papelbon had never had a game like that in his career where he gave up two home runs in one relief outing.

Frustrating losses create overall disenchantment, and that has been evident. For instance, Mike Lowell feels out of place on the 2010 Red Sox. Now that David Ortiz is hitting, he doesn’t feel as if he has a role. In fact, Lowell even wondered if he is a hindrance to the current setup of the roster.

“I think it’s a little unfortunate, but I think somewhat it’s painfully evident I don’t really have a role on the team,” Lowell said. I think I had a temporary role but I think that was more to the fact that we had young outfielders because of the injuries to Jacoby and Cam and David got off to a slow start. David’s swinging the bat a lot better, which I’m actually happy for. I actually think he’s still a big presence in our lineup. I don’t really care what the numbers say. He’s that guy that you still fear that he doesn’t have to make really good contact and he can still hit the ball out of the park.

“As a friend and as a teammate, you don’t like to see those guys struggle. You just don’t. Obviously I think there’s a catch how it affects me. When Jacoby and Cam come back, I just don’t really know what my role is. With those two in the lineup I don’t know who would I hit for. When I hit I get pinch-run for. I don’t play defense. I think sometimes you feel like the team might be better off if you’re not it. I just eat up a roster spot, I really do. I don’t know. If anything it’s a good feeling that I’ve had so many teammates come up to me and they say they sympathize with my situation. I think I’ve truly agonized over it. But it’s not good or bad, it’s just reality. It’s just reality. I don’t know what else to do.”

Then there is the matter of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Victor Martinez seemingly having some communication issues during Monday’s game.

“Again, I think it was frustration showing. My point to both of them was, OK, if we’re frustrated, how do we make it better? It’s easy to show frustration but how do you make it better? That’s what we’ll try to do.”,” Francona said.

What could cure all these issues? Maybe a good old 10 or 12-game winning streak

One step forward, two steps back

In somewhat of a recurring theme, just when it seemed Daisuke Matsuzaka might be gaining some momentum, he stumbled.

His last start was one of the best of his career. In that one, Dice gave up three hits and a run over seven innings, walking none and striking out nine.

How does he follow that up? By giving up five runs in the first inning tonight against the Yankees. He has settled down nicely the last couple of innings, but Matsuzaka has to learn how to avoid that one big inning that always seems to haunt him if he’s going to be the guy the Red Sox need him to be.

The righty has been living on the edge quite a bit, but that came back to haunt him tonight as his 0-for-24 stretch with the bases loaded — which dated all the way back to Sept. 8, 2007 — ended with A-Rod’s two-run single in the first.