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.
The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.
But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.
"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."
Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.
With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.
"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."
Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.
The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Merloni recaps this week of Red Sox spring training.