Notebook: Another Pawtucket start coming for Matsuzaka

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Notebook: Another Pawtucket start coming for Matsuzaka

BALTIMORE Daisuke Matsuzaka will make at least one more rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket after a healthy outing on Wednesday night.

Matsuzaka gave up five runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 5 23 innings while taking a loss against Scranton Wilkes-Barre after his pitch count rose to 97. Matsuzaka has a 4.02 ERA in four rehab starts for the Pawtucket while coming back from a right upper trapezius strain, and is scheduled for another rehab appearance without restrictions on Monday.

Im very encouraged by what I heard. They thought it was his best command and his best stuff during his rehab, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of Matsuzaka, who hes been texting back and forth with in his rehab stint. Hes going to make another start. Then well talk about taking it to the next level and seeing what we have.

Valentine said there wont be any limitations on Matsuzaka in his next start, and the Japanese righthander is getting close to a return trip to Boston. Whether that has to wait until Sept. 1 probably depends on what happens with Felix Doubront in his next start in Boston now that hes been skipped one turn in the rotation.

Matsuzaka is 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA in his time with Boston this season, and has looked nothing like the confident strikeout artist that the Sox brought over from Japan back in 2007.

Daniel Nava is much better as he comes back from a sore wrist, and he told Valentine that he feels like hes at 60 percent in terms of strength and full health. The Sox skipper indicated Nava would probably need a rehab assignment before returning to the Sox. If so, that might just also put him in the Sept. 1 call-up category once he goes on rehab.

Valentine said that lefty reliever Rich Hill looked good after his second rehab appearance on Wednesday with the Red Sox Rookie Gulf Coast League. Hill struck out two in one inning against the Gulf Coast Orioles.

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

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David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

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Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

BOSTON - JC Ramirez rebounded from his shortest career start with six solid innings, Cameron Maybin doubled home a run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Angels look for their fifth series win in their last six on Sunday.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for only the third time in their last 13 home games.

Ramirez (7-5) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts after lasting just three innings and giving up five runs in his previous start.

Blake Parker struck out pinch-hitter Chris Young with the bases loaded for the final out for his first save of the season after Boston scored twice in the ninth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller after Fernando Abad was called for a balk, scoring a run that made it 5-1 in the seventh.