Sox expect Matsuzaka to miss at least a month

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Sox expect Matsuzaka to miss at least a month

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox officially placed right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strain to his common flexor mass, and don't expect him back any time soon.

Matsuzaka will be examined againin two weeks, and won't throw at all during that time. If he passes that exam, he would likely need anadditional two weeks before he could return to the mound, meaning four weeks off is probably a best-case scenario.

But the reality is, the Sox are unsure how long Matsuzaka -- 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA this season -- will be out.

Manager Terry Francona said Dice-K won't pitch again until "hes free and easy, where he doesnt have to guard against anything so he can think about pitching and not about his arm . . .

Normally . . . if its two weeks down, three weeks down, four weeks down, thats normally about what it takes to get back to the mound. So you can kind of do the math. If a guys down three or four weeks and it takes three or four weeks to get back to the mound, you're not going to get on a big-league mound real quick.

Im glad we got him looked at, because I dont know if he really wanted to. Im glad we did before this turned into something.

Sprained ulnar collateral ligaments can sometimes lead to Tommy John surgery, which sideline a pitcher from 12-18 months. The Sox, however, hope they've caught the problem early and can avoid surgery.

The results of the MRI seemed to surprise Matsuzaka.

When I hear the result of the MRI, actually the condition was worse than I expected, Matsuzaka said through a team interpreter. About the time frame, I have two weeks off, and I will see how the recovery process goes.

The right-hander, who said he may consider getting a second opinion within the next two weeks, said the pain has made him unable to throw a baseball.

In general, I could stand the pain and still continue to throw before, he said. But at this point I cant really. Its difficult to hold it and throw with this kind of pain. So I usually have a very high tolerance but this time its hard for me to keep throwing.

Matsuzaka last pitched Monday against the Orioles,giving up five runs in 4 13 innings on five hits and seven walks. Healso left his start on April 29 with elbow tightness after pitching toone batter in the fifth inning. Since then, he has thrown 11 13innings over two starts and one relief appearance, allowing 11 runs(all earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with six strikeouts while his ERAhas climbed from 3.81 to 5.30. It's likely he was dealing with theelbow injury on April 29.

Matsuzaka, who said he is not concerned about surgery, has spent time in each of the last four seasons 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.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?