Trapezius muscle pain too much for Matsuzaka to overcome

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Trapezius muscle pain too much for Matsuzaka to overcome

OAKLAND -- Daisuke Matsuzaka told the Red Sox several days ago that he was again being bothered by his right trapezius muscle (ranges from the neck to shoulder to upper back), and wouldn't be able to throw his usual bullpen session in-between starts.

But Matsuzaka insisted that he was fit enough to make his scheduled start as the Red Sox opened a three-game series in Oakland.

Turns out, he wasn't.

Matsuzaka was rocked for five runs in just over an inning's worth of work, putting the Red Sox into an early hole out from which they couldn't climb in a 6-1 loss to the A's.

"Obviously he didn't have his good stuff tonight," said Valentine. "We were hoping he was going to work through (the issue). (He mentioned it) a couple of days ago, but it seemed like he worked through it. He said he was going to be alright to pitch. We asked him pretty consistently.

"It got rubbed out the other day in Seattle."

Matsuzaka allowed a solo homer to Josh Reddick in the first, then came unglued in the second, as the first five hitters of the inning reached base. Included in there was a three-run homer by another former Red Sox outfielder, Brandon Moss.

He left after an inning, tying his shortest outing since joining the Red Sox.

"Leading up to the start, my neck tightened up a little bit and I ended up not being able to throw a bullpen," he said. "I focused on getting myself into condition to be able to pitch tonight. I went out there, but I ended up not being able to get my arm through."

Matsuzaka has battled this same issue twice earlier this season -- once in spring training, and then again in May, when he was nearing the end of his rehabilitation assignment. Both times, he received injections to the area.

Matsuzaka is now winless in five starts since returning from Tommy John surgery

Asked if placing Matsuzaka on the disabled list was a possibility, Valentine said: "Oh, I don't know. With the All-Star break, possibly."

"I just spoke to Bobby about what needs to be done," said Matsuzaka, "and a decision will be made sooner than later."

Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”

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Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”

Kennedy in pursuit of Drake for concert at Fenway

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Kennedy in pursuit of Drake for concert at Fenway

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Quick, if you could have one artist perform at Fenway Park, who would it be?

Florida Georgia Line or Carrie Underwood?

Kanye West?

Maybe a little throwback with Eminem?

Let’s stick to artists who go by one name actually. Red Sox President Sam Kennedy seems to think that’s a good idea.

“We’ve been approaching Drake, this year, we would love to have Drake come,” Kennedy said at Red Sox Winter Weekend. “We understand he’s not doing a big summer tour, but that’s an example of someone we’ve proactively gone out after.

“We’d love to have him come to Fenway Park, given his popularity.

Fenway will already play host to New Kids on the Block with Paula Abdul and Boysz II Men, James Taylor and Billy Joel, with the possibility of adding more.

“I’m not a huge music person,” Kennedy said. “We’ve tried to bring in as many different types of acts as we can to appeal to different demographics. The reality is with the baseball schedule, with the way it lays out, we’re sort of at the mercy of the touring and who’s out.

“We love having these events in Boston. It’s good for the economy, it’s good for Fenway . . . The city has been a very supportive partner in bringing events into town.”

From what Kennedy and his staff have gathered, it appears Drake is looking to do one-off shows instead of a tour. That’s just enough for the ever-persistent Red Sox President to keep working on bringing in the superstar.

“We’re not gonna give up,” Kennedy said.