BOSTON With strong performances from Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront in the last two games, the urgency to get reinforcements for the Red Sox battered starting rotation has waned. For now, anyway.
But, if Daisuke Matsuzaka was going to be part of the solution, those hopes may have to be put on hold, or at least adjusted.
Matsuzaka had a shaky outing in his fourth rehab start, second with Triple-A Pawtucket, on Saturday. Matsuzaka went 5 13 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and a walk, with five strikeouts, two home runs, and a hit batter. He threw 90 pitches, 54 strikes. He left with the PawSox trailing, but the Pawtucket offense saved him from a loss, pulling out a win over Columbus.
In four rehab outings one with High-A Salem, another with Double-A Portland, and two with Pawtucket Matsuzaka has posted a combined record of 0-1 with a 4.34 ERA, giving up nine earned runs over 18 23 innings, with four home runs, six walks, and 19 strikeouts. Opponents have hit .254 off him.
Looking at todays results, there are obvious areas that I need to work on, Matsuzaka told reporters through his translator after his Saturday outing. The command of my off-speed pitches to begin with. Most of the hits came off my off-speed pitches. Thats an area that I really need to improve.
Matsuzaka is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in June. His 30-day rehab assignment is set to expire on May 22, which would mean he would likely have just one more rehab start.
Im not sure where Im going to be pitching for my next outing, but its probably going to be in the minors, is my assumption, Matsuzaka said. In that game, I need to work on my two-seam, which is supposed to be a pitch that is going to help me.
Matsuzaka said his elbow felt fine after the outing. He had had some discomfort in it after his first outing with the PawSox on Monday. If Matsuzaka is not ready when his rehab assignment expires, he can be returned to the DL but cannot pitch in minor league games.