BOSTON Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka made the fifth start on his current rehab assignment Tuesday night, going seven scoreless innings (plus two walks in the eighth), giving up one hit and four walks with seven strikeouts for Triple-A Pawtucket. He has been on the disabled list since July 3 with a right upper trapezius strain, his second DL stint this season after beginning the year there will recovering from Tommy John surgery in June 2010.Matsuzaka has made just five starts for the Red Sox this season, going 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA. In all, he has made 13 minor league rehab starts this season, posting a record of 1-4 with a 3.32 ERA. In five starts on his current assignment he is 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA.Where and when his next start will be remains to be determined.Its the first time I threw deep into a game in a while, Matsuzaka said before Tuesdays game at Fenway against the Angels, through translator Jeff Cutler, of his outing with Pawtucket on Tuesday. But my body feels fine today.After my last start down in Pawtucket, I told Bobby and pitching coach Randy Niemann that I was ready. But I haven't spoke to them yet this time around. So Ill be speaking to them soon and then I think a decision will be made then.Prior to that, Valentine met with the media. The reports he got on Matsuzaka's outing were positive.The reports were good, Valentine said. He threw the ball well, kept it down, had his location, mixed his pitches, came out of it all right, just a little sore calf is all I hear. If all the things that we were dealing with, he seemed to be OK.Matsuzaka said he is not concerned about the sore calf.Its not the first time thats happened to me, he said. So Im not worried about it at all.Matsuzaka said his trapezius muscle is definitely better now and this is the healthiest he has felt in a while.After I had the surgery, my body definitely feels better than it did before, which is a good thing, he said. But its definitely been stressful and frustrating at the same time to have to fight through all these injuries. But I think Im finally in a good place and Im looking forward to getting better and better every time I pitch.Matsuzaka is in the final season of a six-year, 52 million contract. (The Sox also had to a pay a 51.1 million posting fee.) He has appeared in 110 games (110 starts), posting a record of 49-33 with a 4.34 ERA. But in 50 games (49 starts) over the last four seasons, he has a record of just 16-18 with a 5.17 ERA.Asked if he would like to return to the Sox after this season, Matsuzaka replied:Ive really enjoyed my time in Boston and my family also has enjoyed our time here. So Id like to but its a little early to say where Im going to be or be talking about that. But no matter how long Im going to be here Id like to wear the Red Sox uniform with honor and play hard for the rest of the season and do what I can to contribute to the team.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal ignited a local firestorm when he made a seemingly off-hand comment a few days ago that he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Red Sox fired John Farrell this year. (He quickly added he also "wouldn't be surprised" if Farrell stayed on and led the team to the A.L. East title this year, but that got scant mention.)
Today, however, Rosenthal expounded on Farrell and the Sox in a lengthy column on foxsports.com. While acknowledging the team's injuries and beyond-the-manager's-control inconsistencies (in the starting rotation and with the offense), he also ominously added, "The excuses for the Sox, though, go only so far — all teams deal with injuries, and not all of them boast $200 million payrolls. Other issues also have emerged under Farrell . . . "
Farrell, even when he won the 2013 World Series as a rookie manager, was not popular in all corners of the clubhouse. Some players, but not all, believe that he does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media when the team is struggling, sources say. Some also question Farrell’s game management, talk that exists in virtually every clubhouse, some more than others.
And then he mentioned two leadership problems:
The first occurred during the Red Sox’s prolonged dispute with the Orioles’ Manny Machado. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, after Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head, shouted across the field to Machado, 'it wasn’t me,' then told reporters that it was 'definitely a mishandled situation,' without mentioning Barnes or Farrell by name . . .
The second incident occurred last Saturday, when Farrell engaged in a heated exchange with left-hander Drew Pomeranz in the dugout . . . [Pomeranz's] willingness to publicly challenge Farrell, in an exchange captured by television cameras, offered another indication that the manager and some of his players are not always on the same page.
Rosenthal's piece comes at a time when some of Farrell's harshest local critics are more or less giving him a pass, instead blaming Dave Dombrowski's flawed roster construction for the Sox' early season struggles , , ,
But there has been speculation hereabouts on whether or not Farrell has control of the clubhouse . . .
Now that Rosenthal has weighed in, that sort of talk should increase.
In the end, Rosenthal makes no prediction on Farrell's future other than to conclude "If Dombrowski senses a change is necessary, he’ll make a change."
But one prediction that can be made: The should-Farrell-be-fired? debate, which raged at unrealistic levels last year when the Red Sox won the division, isn't going to end anytime soon.
Mike Felger thinks that John Farrell is not to blame for the Boston Red Sox, but thinks that a coaching change wouldn't be a terrible idea.