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

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello has ability to adjust

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Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello has ability to adjust

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-0 win over the Yankees:

QUOTES:

"He threw all four pitches tonight for strikes, but most importantly, (he's shown) the ability to make adjustments from pitch-to-pitch. If he gets out of whack or misses with a pitch, he's right back in the strike zone.'' - John Farrell on Rick Porcello.

"You look back at the first month and I think we've gained a lot of trust in each other up and down the lineup. That to me is the strongest attribute right now on this team.'' - Farrell on the Red Sox after one month of play.

"Pretty similar. I'm getting a lot of timely hits, and it's helping the team.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr., asked if this last week is similar to the hot streak he enjoyed last August.

"I'm comfortable. I'm in a good place, mentally and physically. I worked really hard to get where I am now and I'm going to continue to work.'' – Bradley on his hot streak.

"Much better fastball command. I've been able to execute my sinker better and that's allowed me to get ahead of hitters and if I do fall behind, I've been able to come back.'' - Porcello on cutting his walk rate by more than half compared to this point a year ago.

NOTES:

* The shutout at Fenway was the first for the Red Sox against the Yankees since May 14, 2011.

* The eight-run margin was the biggest margin in a Red Sox shutout over the Yankees since Sept. 6, 2003 when they won 11-0 in New York.

* The four triples in April for Jackie Bradley Jr. are the most for a Red Sox hitter in that month since Jose Offerman in 1999.

* In his last nine games against the Yankees, Bradley is 14-for-31 (.452) with nine extra-base hits.

* Rick Porcello's 5-0 start to the season is the best run for a Red Sox starter since Josh Beckett was 7-0 in 2007.

* The Yankees have failed to homer in seven games this season; they're 0-7 in those games.

STARS:

1) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley had three extra-base hits (two triples and a double) for eight total bases, and knocked in three runs.

2) Rick Porcello

The Red Sox starter tossed seven shutout innings and allowed only two baserunners into scoring position while issuing just one walk.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had a double in the second and a single in the sixth, good for three RBI, a season high for him.

First impressions from Red Sox' 8-0 win over Yankees: Bradley on a tear

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First impressions from Red Sox' 8-0 win over Yankees: Bradley on a tear

First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-0 win over the Yankees:

* Rick Porcello doesn't seem like a weak link in the rotation now.

Porcello blanked the Yankees for seven innings and is now 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA for the season. For the fourth time in five outings, he pitched into the seventh innings.

The Yankees threatened only once - in the fifth, when they had runners at the corners and two out. But Porcello got Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out, stranding two and was never in trouble again.

Porcello's command is improved over a year ago. In his first five starts last year, covering 30 innings, he walked 10. This year, he's pitched 32 2/3 innings and issued just five walks.

* Jackie Bradley is swinging it like he did last August.

Bradley went on an extra-base tear late last summer, rocketing doubles, triples and homers for a stretch of a few weeks that was completely unexpected.

The last week has been like that stretch, with seven extra-base hits in the last seven games. He knocked in the first run of the night with a double to left, then delivered another in the sixth with a triple to the triangle and two more in the seventh with a triple into the right field corner.

In the two games against the Yankees, he's got four extra-base hits, a walk and five RBI.

* David Ortiz has started 20 games this season. He's knocked in 19 runs.

Ortiz added his second homer in as many nights, to go along with a single and walk.

It's doubtful that he's going to keep up his RBI-per-game pace, but when he's locked in the way he is now, he impacts virtually the entire lineup from the cleanup position.

* If you think Pablo Sandoval was bad, maybe you haven't been watching Chase Headley.

The Yankee third baseman was a free agent the same winter that Sandoval was and some argued that he would have been a better fit for the Sox than was Panda.

But 22 games into the 2016 season, Headley has yet to collect a single base hit and has an OPS of .405. He's hitting .153 and has virtually no range to speak of at third base.

* A lot has changed for Junichi Tazawa.

A year ago, Tazawa was overworked in the first half of the season. On Saturday night, he got an inning of work in the ninth in a blowout game because he hadn't pitched since last Sunday -- thanks to strong starting efforts from the rotation over the past two series.