BOSTON Despite Daisuke Matsuzakas poor rehab outing Saturday nigh for Triple-A Pawtucket, he is moving closer to being fully healthy.
And while the clich holds that theres no such thing as too much pitching and the Red Sox are unlikely to have to worry about it because something always comes up manager Bobby Valentine was asked his thoughts on the possibility of a six-man rotation.
Valentine has used that arrangement in the past, while managing in Japan and with the Mets.
Full-time six-man rotation? It would depend who the six are, he said. I guess it can work but I dont have any plans for that right now as a long-term situation. I could see it being done a couple of times though out of necessity.
Much of the reason is starters preparations.
A lot of its routine, he said. Breaking routine is difficult for most and six days you usually have to throw twice in between and it changes the days that they lift their weights, it changes the days that theyre in the training room. Were all creatures of habit and obviously the rain sometimes and doubleheaders and things like that get guys out of their routine and they have to be able to adjust properly if you ask them to adjust. But to do it full time I think is a lot to ask. But, again, everyones flexible. You never know. Its all about individuals.
Valentine would be unlikely to make the change if it only pertained to one starter.
I dont think you do it because of one guy, he said. But if there are four or five guys who hypothetically if you had two young guys on the starting staff that you wanted to make sure didnt get over a certain amount of innings in a certain year and you had a couple of older guys on the staff that you wanted to make sure that they were rested and ready to go when they got to go, then something like that could happen. But you need to have a couple of young guys, maybe an older guy or two that needs extra rest.
Valentine doesnt see Matsuzakas eventual return as creating competition for a rotation spot.
No ones asked me about his situation really as it relates to their situation, he said. I hope everyone in the starting staff feels that they have to compete and earn everything that they get, I would think. Obviously some exceptions to that rule.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.
Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.
Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.
Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.
Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.
Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.
Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.
Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.
Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.
Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."
He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured.
“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.
“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”
Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.
He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.