Matsuzaka (sprained elbow) placed on DL


Matsuzaka (sprained elbow) placed on DL

By Maureen Mullen

BOSTON For the second time in as many days, the Red Sox have placed a starting pitcher on the disabled list.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has a sprained right elbow, is the most recent starter to join the injured ranks. He joins John Lackey, who was placed on the DL Monday with a right elbow strain. Matsuzakas move will be made official Wednesday.

Matsuzaka received an MRI on his elbow on Tuesday. Just after Tuesday's game against the Orioles was postponed, manager Terry Francona said the team had received the results of the exam.

The elbow has a sprain, were going to shut him down for a period of whatever time we need, Francona said. I think theyre kind of explaining that to Dice probably right about now and then well go from there.

How long the right-hander will be shut down is unclear.

Its impossible, Francona said. If you put a time period out there, thats not fair to Dice-K, because the doctors dont even know. We dont want to do that to Dice.

Francona said Matsuzaka was unable to connect the injury with a single pitch or event. He pitched just 4 13 innings Monday against the Os, giving up five runs on five hits and seven walks with two strikeouts.

When we talked to him a little bit after Mondays game it just kind of came together, Francona said. When you see somebody commanding -- I know hes had command issues in the past, but thats always something to think about when people arent commanding. It doesnt have to be just a decrease in velocity. It can be command also.

Matsuzaka left his start against the Mariners on April 29 with elbow tightness after facing just one batter in the fifth inning. Since then, he has thrown 11 13 innings over two starts and one relief appearance, allowing 11 runs (all earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with six strikeouts while his ERA has climbed from 3.81 to 5.30. It's likely he was dealing with the elbow injury on April 29.

Well, its hard to imagine its not related, Francona said. But those are some of the same questions we try to ask because we certainly want to find out and learn. But we just really dont know. I dont think Dice-K really knows . . . So we just knew that we better check and Im glad we did."

This is the fourth straight year Matsuzaka has gone on the DL. In his five seasons with the Sox, the only year he didnt make a trip to the DL was 2007, his first.

The Sox now have four pitchers Matsuzaka, Lackey, Dan Wheeler, and Bobby Jenks and shortstop Marco Scutaro on the DL.

It doesnt change anything in our view, Francona said. Were going to get Lack healthy and get him back out there as quick as we can. Were going to the same thing with Dice-K. 'Til we do, were going to try to win with somebody else. Thats the way we always feel.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win


Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.