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