Matsuzaka 'progressing well' after Double-A Seadogs start

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Matsuzaka 'progressing well' after Double-A Seadogs start

PORTLAND, Maine Daisuke Matsuzaka made his second rehab start Saturday afternoon, this time for Double-A Portland. He went 4 23 innings, giving up one run on three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts, as the Sea Dogs beat the Reading Phillies, 9-1.

Despite the afternoon chill 46 degrees with a 10-mph wind at first pitch Matsuzaka pitched in short sleeves, wanting to test himself in the cold. He threw 74 pitches, 44 for strikes, with first-pitch strikes to seven of the 17 batters he faced.

I saw him Monday in Salem and I thought today -- I dont have the final numbers on the gun reading -- but I thought his fastball had better finish, he had better angle on his pitches today, said Ralph Treuel, the Sox minor league pitching coordinator.

It was good on Monday but today was better.

In his first outing, April 28 for High-A Salem, Matsuzaka appeared to be shaking off some rust, as he gave up three runs and two home runs in four innings. He is satisfied with the progression he is making.

Im progressing well as I was able to do things that I wasnt able to do in my previous start, he said. But there are a lot of areas that I still need to work on and thats going to be my focus for my upcoming starts.

Ive been away from pitching for a while so its figuring things out within the game that I need to work on the most such as just the flow of the game, the momentum of the game, my form, and those are the areas that Ill be continuing to focus on as I pitch.

It was just his second start since he went 4 13 innings May 16, giving up five runs and seven walks, one shy of his career high, against the Orioles. He was placed on the disabled list the next day and underwent Tommy John surgery on June 10. He is still getting used to his post-surgery body, he said.

I think thats common, Treuel said. Hes missed 11 months, too. So it takes a while to get back into a routine. Its one thing pitching in extended spring training and its another thing coming out and facing hitters with fans in the stands, and there were a lot more here today than there were in Salem on Monday.

Indeed, it was a sellout, the first of the season for the 7-16 Sea Dogs.

Matsuzaka, who is in the final season of his six-year, 52 million contract, threw all his pitches, and was satisfied with his velocity, which topped out at 93 mph, according to the Hadlock Field radar gun.

But thats not his focus right now.

Im not worried about those things at the moment, he said. Im not really too worried about my velocity or how my breaking, off-speed pitches are at the moment. There are other areas that need work before I need to worry about those areas.

Thats exactly what it is, Treuel said. You got to count the last two as real games because down in extended its really just getting a feel for going out and finishing an inning, finishing a hitter off. Now I think the juices are starting to flow a little more.

Matsuzaka was expected to throw about 70 pitches, up from the 57 he threw in his first outing. After he walked Phillies No. 8 hitter Steve Lerud with two outs in the fifth on his 74th pitch, Sea Dogs manager Kevin Boles went to the mound.

I didnt feel any fatigue out there today, Matsuzaka said. When the manager came out I knew what it meant, but my body felt fine. I thought I could finish the inning, and if it werent a rehab start, I know I would have been able to finish the inning.

Matsuzaka is expected to make three more starts in his 30-day rehab assignment. His next start is scheduled for Thursday, with either Portland or Triple-A Pawtucket. The Sea Dogs host Trenton (Yankees) that day, while the PawSox are in Toledo (Tigers).

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

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Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

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Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

BOSTON - Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. The 26-year-old left-hander's only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw bullpen sessions. Hernandez said he "felt really good."... LHP James Paxton (strained forearm) is set to come off the DL and pitch at home Wednesday.

Red Sox: Pedroia was back at second base after getting Friday off to rest his sore left knee and not play on a wet field. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm his first time up and went 1 for 3. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the DL with a sprained right knee, was expected to play nine innings Saturday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager John Farrell didn't rule out that he could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over four innings in a 10-1 loss Tuesday at Washington.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.35) has gone at least six innings in eight of nine starts.