Valentine: Matsuzaka 'could be very successful'

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Valentine: Matsuzaka 'could be very successful'

BOSTON -- Before the finale of the three-game series with the Marlins, manager Bobby Valentine was asked what he'd like to see from Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Id like him to participate in a winning performance, Valentine said. That would be a good thing. Hes feeling better. Id like him to get through that first inning clean also. Both of those things would be nice to see.Matsuzaka is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts this season after starting the season on the disabled list rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in June 2011.Valentine had suggested earlier this week that Matsuzaka might throw more pitches in his pregame bullpen warm-up than he normally does, but that plan might have to be delayed.He has a regimen, as we checked, and its really timed out, and to throw more would mean to plan a little sooner on changing that regimen, Valentine. So I think hell still be at 32, 33 pitches in the pen.But he is open to having the unorthodox pitcher use a customized routine.I think that everybody is an individual and they need to have individual ways of being successful, Valentine said. I was just talking to Jim Kaat who pitched a couple, three decades and he was mentioning how he actually changed his program himself at times. He even threw an inning in the bullpen and sat down before he warmed up again and then went in. So I think its a constant evolution, a constant adjustment that you have to make.Valentine said it is difficult for him to compare what he has seen from Matsuzaka this season and before the right-hander had his surgery.I didnt see him like I see him now, and I think his pitches are good now, Valentine said. If he uses the proper mix of changeup with his cutter, his slider, his curveball, and his fastball, I think he could be very successful.Thursday is Matsuzakas first career appearance against the Marlins.

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

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.