BOSTON With just over three weeks remaining in the 2012 season, it appears as though Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch again this season and Frankin Morales won't.
Matsuzaka was shelled over the weekend for one of the worst starts of his career. But he threw a side session Tuesday and a small mechanical flaw might have been detected.
"He looked real good," said Bobby Valentine. "I talked to him today. I think we might have find something that (he feels good about) -- a little thing out of the stretch that he felt better about."
Asked if that fine-tuning could result in improved performance by Matsuzaka, Valentine chuckled: "Let's hope so. His command wasn't good out of the stretch the other day. Maybe his command will be better next time."
Meanwhile, the status of Morales officially remains uncertain, The lefty has been on the DL for the last few weeks with some left shoulder weakness, but Valentine hinted that he wouldn't take the mound again.
"I think, considering the whole situation, I don't think he needs to pitch anymore," Valentine said of Morales. "Maybe, but I don't think he needs to. If he really wants to and we see a reason for it, maybe. But I don't think that's going to be the program."
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who's been dealing with a sore back, was out of the lineup for the series opener.
"I'd like to give him another day,'' said Valentine. "He threw, he hit, he felt OK. The medical staff thought after hitting and throwing, if he feels good tomorrow, maybe he can play.''
Ryan Lavarnway was the starter Tuesday, with reserve Guillermo Quiroz available as the backup.
Of the remaining 21 games for the Sox, all but three are against teams still in playoff contention. Valentine was asked if he approaches the games against the Yankees, Rays and Orioles differently than the ones with a losing team like Toronto.
"In some years, I think that might have been the case," said Valentine. "When you have an awful lot of young guys who really shouldn't be in that battle. But I don't think we really have that situation. We're going to do our best every second that we're out there. No matter who we're playing, we're going to try to give our fans and the organization everything that we think they deserve. That's a lot more than we've given them so far."