FORT MYERS, Fla. Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a bullpen session Saturday afternoon for Sox pitching coach Bob McClure as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in June. He threw 40 pitches in a two simulated innings.
Good, McClure said of Matsuzakas outing. It was 40 pitches, threw 20 and then we have him sit down in the middle of an inning and do 20 more. But as far as what Im seeing from a health standpoint, its hard to tell he was ever even hurt by the way hes throwing a baseball. That doesnt mean hes ready. Just staying its free and easy its coming out of his hand really good, and its clean. Looks sharp. Hes on schedule.
What that means for when Matsuzaka could be back in a game McClure couldnt say.
I couldnt even venture into that right now, he said. Because you dont want to rush because of that surgery. So he may look better than he would if we moved him up to pitch. Because when you watch him right now it almost looks like he could pitch in a game. But thats not the right thing to do. You just dont want to go backwards. Hes worked too hard. Hes put a lot of time into this going forward. So we dont want to make any steps going backwards.
Matsuzaka will likely throw a few more bullpen sessions before progressing to batting practice.
I would say maybe a couple more of these bullpen sessions then maybe going into BP, McClure said. And then hell probably throw three or four batting practice sessions. Maybe the last one or last two where he throws a certain amount of pitches, sits down, comes back out, warms up and then does it again.
And then after he does that three or four times. It all depends on how many days he has in between Its all going to depend on how hes feeling and what the doctors say.
In a good example of both strong reporting and stating the obvious, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote Wednesday that the Pacers are “gauging the trade market on All-Star forward Paul George.”
The only team mentioned in Wojnarowski’s piece as a suitor via trade is the Celtics. Wojnarowski writes that if the Pacers trade the 26-year-old George to Boston, they might be motivated to do it sooner to make sure the C’s don’t move those assets to Chicago for Jimmy Butler first.
The Pacers are working the trade deadline on parallel fronts: Pursuing deals that will bring talent into Indiana to sell George on signing a long-term extension -- and soliciting deal offers on George that would signal a rebuild around center Myles Turner, league sources told The Vertical.
Ultimately, the Pacers will have to evaluate the two paths and make a decision before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline. There’s no urgency to make a deal for George, unless the Pacers fear the Boston Celtics could ultimately provide Indiana the best possible package of assets in a deal -- and think that option could disappear if Boston makes a deal with Chicago for Jimmy Butler.
A 6-foot-9 small forward, George is averaging 22.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this season.
George’s contract expires after the 2017-18 season, which is also when Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart will be due for new contracts. Wojnarowski writes that trading for the California native would put the team at risk of potentially losing him as a free agent to the Lakers.
Teams trading for George run the risk of losing the four-time All-Star to a Lakers franchise that will have the salary-cap space to sign him in 2018. The Lakers’ hiring of Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations will be an interesting twist to George’s free-agent recruitment, given that Johnson has been something of a George family icon going back to George’s childhood in nearby Palmdale, Calif.