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."

First Impressions from Boston's 10-3 loss to Texas

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First Impressions from Boston's 10-3 loss to Texas

First impressions of the Red Sox 10-3 loss to Texas:

 

Steven Wright can’t be stellar every night.

Although it’s seemed like it lately, it’s just not possible -- especially with a knuckleball.

He wasn’t even that bad Saturday night. He just didn’t get any help from his defense in the fifth frame.

But there’s no denying he didn’t have his best stuff. But whatever the reason, he couldn’t find consistent command or movement from his knuckler and he gave up some hard hits as a result.

Did he receive a fate worse than he pitched? Yes. But what Boston saw from Wright in his Saturday start is there will be times his go-to pitch is off -- and there’s really no way to work around that.

 

Hanley Ramirez’s “timing issue” seems to be coming around.

Although he hasn’t necessarily caught fire, Ramirez hit another home run -- once again to right field.

He’s shown more patience at the plate, and not trying to pull every ball out of the yard.

Ramirez doesn’t have everything completely figured out, but his homeruns have been plenty valuable at this point.

 

Ian Desmond is no joke.

The newly converted centerfielder is 5-for-10 against Boston pitching this series with a run and two RBI.

The ex-Nationals shortstop has good pop and good speed still. He seems to be a lot more comfortable in his new home after hitting .233 for Washington last year with 19 homeruns -- hitting his 13th Saturday night.

 

For all the criticisms Boston’s bullpen has received, the Rangers’ is definitely worse.

Although there wasn’t the same miraculous comeback witnessed Friday night -- and Boston’s pen wasn’t particularly stellar in the loss -- the Ranger relievers did not look good in the second game of the series.

They put themselves into deep counts right away -- and was lucky Boston’s offense was off.

Boston’s bullpen has its faults -- no question -- but it’s not nearly as bad as the one in Texas.

 

The Red Sox unfortunately have to rely on Clay Buchholz Sunday.

The bullpen is beaten down once again. The righty is still fighting for his job, so this would be the best time for him to pitch competitively into the sixth inning -- and maybe even longer.

Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

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Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

Knuckleballer Steven Wright will try to stay on a roll, as will the Red Sox, as they continue their three-game series tonight (9:20) against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Wright (8-4, American League-leading 2.01 ERA) faces Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.94), in his first start since coming off the 15-day disabled list.

The Red Sox rallied to win the series opener 8-7 with a four-run ninth inning.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Bryce Brentz LF
Christian Vazquez C
---
Steven Wright RHP

RANGERS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Ian Desmond CF
Nomar Mazara LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Prince Fielder DH
Roughned Odor 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Robinson Chirinos C
---
A.J. Griffin RHP
 

Red Sox call up RHP Cuevas, send Marrero to Pawtucket

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Red Sox call up RHP Cuevas, send Marrero to Pawtucket

With the Red Sox bullpen taxed in recent days by pitching 18 1/3 innings the past four games, including a short outing Friday night by starter David Price, right-hander William Cuevas was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and infielder Deven Marrero was sent down.

Cuevas, 25, made one relief appearance for Boston (allowing two runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings in his major league debut April 21) and had been starting at Pawtucket (4-3, 3.30 ERA in 12 starts). He pitched 5 1/3 innings on Sunday. He'll be available out of the bullpen tonight as the Red Sox continue their three-game series in Texas. 

Marrero, 25, appeared in four games and went 1-for-7 in his latest stint in Boston.