BALTIMORE Daisuke Matsuzaka will make at least one more rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket after a healthy outing on Wednesday night.
Matsuzaka gave up five runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 5 23 innings while taking a loss against Scranton Wilkes-Barre after his pitch count rose to 97. Matsuzaka has a 4.02 ERA in four rehab starts for the Pawtucket while coming back from a right upper trapezius strain, and is scheduled for another rehab appearance without restrictions on Monday.
Im very encouraged by what I heard. They thought it was his best command and his best stuff during his rehab, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of Matsuzaka, who hes been texting back and forth with in his rehab stint. Hes going to make another start. Then well talk about taking it to the next level and seeing what we have.
Valentine said there wont be any limitations on Matsuzaka in his next start, and the Japanese righthander is getting close to a return trip to Boston. Whether that has to wait until Sept. 1 probably depends on what happens with Felix Doubront in his next start in Boston now that hes been skipped one turn in the rotation.
Matsuzaka is 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA in his time with Boston this season, and has looked nothing like the confident strikeout artist that the Sox brought over from Japan back in 2007.
Daniel Nava is much better as he comes back from a sore wrist, and he told Valentine that he feels like hes at 60 percent in terms of strength and full health. The Sox skipper indicated Nava would probably need a rehab assignment before returning to the Sox. If so, that might just also put him in the Sept. 1 call-up category once he goes on rehab.
Valentine said that lefty reliever Rich Hill looked good after his second rehab appearance on Wednesday with the Red Sox Rookie Gulf Coast League. Hill struck out two in one inning against the Gulf Coast Orioles.