Matsuzaka shows good command for Pawtucket

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Matsuzaka shows good command for Pawtucket

BOSTON -- Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched five scoreless innings in a rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday night. He allowed only one hit and one walk while striking out two and throwing 56 pitches.

Thirty-eight of those pitches were for strikes, and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine gave the full report before Sunday's game against the Rays.

"Daisuke used his fastball most of the time. He had much better command of it," said Valentine. "He felt good, during and after the performance. He didn't hold runners very well, but wasn't concerned with holding runners. Wanted to just get through the throwing part of it, and did OK."

Valentine said that they'll discuss the next step for Matsuzaka today, and that he expects him to be on a basic five-day schedule with Pawtucket.

The good sign, though, is that Matsuzaka's mechanics are "much better" and his velocity is up to 92 mph, which Valentine said is "pretty good."

Ortiz to play rest of regular season for Sox with guaranteed rest before playoffs

Ortiz to play rest of regular season for Sox with guaranteed rest before playoffs

NEW YORK -- Now that the division title has been wrapped up, the Red Sox turn their attention to getting ready for the post-season -- but not at the expense of trying to win as many games as possible.

Part of the planning for the Sox involves how much to play David Ortiz, who is retiring when the Red Sox are through in the post-season.

On Thursday night, his final road game and last appearance at Yankee Stadium, the Sox planned to have Ortiz get at least two at-bats in recognition of the fans in New York who wanted to see him one more time.

As for the last series at Fenway, it will be business as usual with Ortiz playing all three.

"We don't foresee any pullback in terms of his number of at-bats," said Farrell of the weekend series with Toronto. "It's a weekend of celebration well-deserved and we'll have time to recover."

Farrell noted that under the current playoff format, teams which win their division get three full days off after the final regular season games. That helps in preparation.

"The importance of winning and maintaining our daily approach is priority No. 1," said Farrell. "How that might affect how deep a starter goes in the upcoming games might be looked at a little more closely. Still, we feel it's imperative to secure as much home field as we can."

On Thursday night, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon were all given the night off. Others will get the same opportunity over the weekend.