Matsuzaka: 'Im ready to make the step up'

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Matsuzaka: 'Im ready to make the step up'

PAWTUCKET, RI After his third and latest rehab start Wednesday night, right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka said he feels good enough that he could be activated from the disabled list.Matsuzaka went 5 23 innings against ScrantonWilkes-Barre, giving up five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts, throwing 97 pitches, 65 strikes. He was also charged with an error. Matsuzaka took the loss, dropping to 0-1 on this rehab assignment (0-3 overall with Pawtucket) with a 3.68 ERA, as the PawSox lost, 5-1 at McCoy Stadium in the first game of a double-header.After my previous start I felt that I definitely needed to throw in the minors again, have another rehab start, Matsuzaka said after his outing. But today I felt a lot better, and I think the results werent what I wanted, but I felt a lot better. I threw a lot better, and I threw about 100 pitches. My pitch count went up, and I feel like Im ready to make the step up.The Yankees scored all their runs off him in the fifth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. Matsuzaka threw 38 pitches in the inning, allowing the first seven batters to reach base -- including one on his own throwing error -- before he could record an out. It was an adjustment he made in that inning, he said, that caused his difficulties.Overall I think I threw well today, he said. But after the fourth inning, I saw my pitch count, I saw it was low and cant exactly say what I changed but I changed something. And that might have had an effect on what happened. But if I didnt make that error, it wouldnt have been as bad as it was.It was a small mechanical adjustment I made, because I felt so good, and the results followed because of that. But once I got up there everything seemed to fall apart and I really regret doing that. And its going to be the last time I make such an adjustment during a game.The results werent great, obviously. Physically I felt the best Ive felt in a while, and again Ive said this before, but if it werent for the error then it wouldnt have been as bad. But my fastball felt really good and there werent any hard hits on it. So thats a positive to take away from it. So its just about how I use my pitches is whats going to be something I need to rethink. The results were poor but I dont feel as bad as the results.PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler supported Matsuzakas assertion that he pitched better than his line showed.I think thats fair to say, Beyeler said. He had one bad inning. But overall he did a nice job. He commanded well.Matsuzaka has been on the DL since July 3. It is his second stint on the DL this season after beginning the year there following Tommy John surgery in June 2011. He has made just five starts, spanning 23 innings, for the Red Sox this season, going 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA. In all, he has made 12 rehab starts this season between the two stints, going 0-4 with a 3.76 ERA.He began his current 30-day rehab assignment on Aug. 5 and would not have to be activated until Sept. 4.

Sunday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Holt in for Pedroia at second base

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Sunday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Holt in for Pedroia at second base

The Boston Red Sox close out their three-game series against the Kansas City Royals without second baseman Dustin Pedroia. 

Brock Holt will be at second base for Pedroia who will miss the game, reportedly attending to a family matter.

Eduardo Rodriguez (2-5, 5.11 ERA) will be on the mound for the Sox, facing off against Yordano Ventura (9-9, 4.27 ERA).

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Raul Mondesi 2B
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Yordano Ventura RHP

RED SOX
Brock Holt 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
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Eduardo Rodriguez LHP