Tito, Dice-K reunited: Indians sign Matsuzaka

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Tito, Dice-K reunited: Indians sign Matsuzaka

You'd have thought five years with Daisuke Matsuzaka was enough for any man . . . but not Terry Francona.

Francona -- Dice-K's manager for the Japanese right-hander's first five seasons in the big leagues -- is now reunited with the talented, frustrating, exasperating starter. The Indians, Tito's new team, have signed Matsuzaka to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training in the hopes that he'll earn a spot in the starting rotation.

Dice-K underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and had a pretty ugly return (8.28 ERA in 45 23 innings) to the Red Sox late last year. Still, a) he's only 32; b) pitchers tend to improve in their second season removed from Tommy John, and c) he has enough talent that he posted a 50-37 record during his tenure in Boston. If you ignore the water torture of his 32-pitch innings and constant 3-and-2 counts, the numbers -- at least at the beginning of his Red Sox tenure -- really weren't that bad.

How not that bad? According to baseball-reference.com, it's a 162-game average of 15-11, 4.52 -- don't forget, he missed large chunks of the 2009, '11 and '12 seasons to injuries -- and the Indians certainly would take that. Plus, if anyone's used to dealing with the frustrations of a Dice-K start, it's Francona.

Just keep the Tums handy, Tito.

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

McAdam: Will this be Clay Buchholz's last start?

With Wright and Rodriguez set to return, Sean McAdam joins SNC to discuss whether Tuesday’s game against the Rays will be the last start for Clay Buchholz.

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz hopes he's made a case to stay in rotation

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz hopes he's made a case to stay in rotation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 win over Tampa Bay Rays.

 

QUOTES:

"I didn't know I could really do that.'' - Mookie Betts, who marveled at his throw from the right field corner which nailed Kevin Kiermaier -- attempting to stretch a double into a triple -- at third in the eighth inning.

"He's playing a huge role for us right now. He's stepped in, he's built his arm strength and given us almost 13 very strong innings the last two outings.'' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz.

"I don't know that we ever lost faith in the talent of Clay. He was in a rut for quite some time. . . But the jolt that he's given us from the spot starts he's made, he's kept us rolling.'' - Farrell on Buchholz.

"You'd have to ask John about that. I have no idea. I've tried to make the most of (the opportunity) and if a decision has to be made, make it a hard one.'' - Buchholz, when asked if he's made a case to stay in the rotation.

 

NOTES:

* The Red Sox improved to a season-best 17 games over .500

* The win was just the fourth for the Red Sox this season when scoring two or one runs.

* The win was the first for Clay Buchholz as a starter since May 9.

* David Ortiz moved into sixth place on the Red Sox' all-time hit list, passing Bobby Doerr with 2.043 hits.

* Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games and has reached base in 16 straight.

* Andrew Benintendi recorded his eighth multi-hit game, the first Red Sox player to do so in his first 20 games since Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007

* Mookie Betts recorded his 10th outdield assist, placing him third among major league right fielders.

* Craig Kimbrel has a 1.08 ERA in save situations this year and 6.06 in non-save situations.

* Kimbrel has recorded a save in each of his last five appearances.

 

STARS:

1) Clay Buchholz

To say that this was Buchholz's best start of the season is to damn with faint praise, since there haven't been many good ones. But this was very good: 6 1/3 innings, one run on five hits with a season-high nine strikeouts.

2) Mookie Betts

Betts has only been a pro outfielder for a little more than two years, but that didn't look to be the case when he fired a strike from the right field corner to cut down a baserunner at third with one out in the eighth inning.

3) Craig Kimbrel

Kimbrel was dominant in the ninth, protecting a one-run lead with two strikeouts and a soft lineout to left.