PAWTUCKET, RI After his third and latest rehab start Wednesday night, right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka said he feels good enough that he could be activated from the disabled list.Matsuzaka went 5 23 innings against ScrantonWilkes-Barre, giving up five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts, throwing 97 pitches, 65 strikes. He was also charged with an error. Matsuzaka took the loss, dropping to 0-1 on this rehab assignment (0-3 overall with Pawtucket) with a 3.68 ERA, as the PawSox lost, 5-1 at McCoy Stadium in the first game of a double-header.After my previous start I felt that I definitely needed to throw in the minors again, have another rehab start, Matsuzaka said after his outing. But today I felt a lot better, and I think the results werent what I wanted, but I felt a lot better. I threw a lot better, and I threw about 100 pitches. My pitch count went up, and I feel like Im ready to make the step up.The Yankees scored all their runs off him in the fifth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. Matsuzaka threw 38 pitches in the inning, allowing the first seven batters to reach base -- including one on his own throwing error -- before he could record an out. It was an adjustment he made in that inning, he said, that caused his difficulties.Overall I think I threw well today, he said. But after the fourth inning, I saw my pitch count, I saw it was low and cant exactly say what I changed but I changed something. And that might have had an effect on what happened. But if I didnt make that error, it wouldnt have been as bad as it was.It was a small mechanical adjustment I made, because I felt so good, and the results followed because of that. But once I got up there everything seemed to fall apart and I really regret doing that. And its going to be the last time I make such an adjustment during a game.The results werent great, obviously. Physically I felt the best Ive felt in a while, and again Ive said this before, but if it werent for the error then it wouldnt have been as bad. But my fastball felt really good and there werent any hard hits on it. So thats a positive to take away from it. So its just about how I use my pitches is whats going to be something I need to rethink. The results were poor but I dont feel as bad as the results.PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler supported Matsuzakas assertion that he pitched better than his line showed.I think thats fair to say, Beyeler said. He had one bad inning. But overall he did a nice job. He commanded well.Matsuzaka has been on the DL since July 3. It is his second stint on the DL this season after beginning the year there following Tommy John surgery in June 2011. He has made just five starts, spanning 23 innings, for the Red Sox this season, going 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA. In all, he has made 12 rehab starts this season between the two stints, going 0-4 with a 3.76 ERA.He began his current 30-day rehab assignment on Aug. 5 and would not have to be activated until Sept. 4.
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.