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Tag:Daisuke Matsuzaka
Posted on: June 2, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 2:58 pm

Matsuzaka surgery likely next week

Daisuke Matsuzaka is headed for Tommy John surgery, probably next week, a baseball source confirmed to on Thursday.

The news doesn't come as a big surprise, despite repeated denials from the Red Sox that Matsuzaka would need surgery. He complained of elbow pain as far back as April, and hasn't pitched since leaving a start on May 16. Japan's Nikkan Sports then reported Wednesday night that Matsuzaka had decided on surgery, and the source confirmed that decision on Thursday.

Matsuzaka's six-year, $52 million deal with the Red Sox runs through next season, but now he won't pitch for the rest of this year and for at least the start of the 2012 season. Matsuzaka has made 105 starts for Boston, going 49-30 with a 4.25 ERA.

The Red Sox have been without two starters, as John Lackey has also been on the disabled list. But Lackey is scheduled to return from the DL to start Sunday against the Mariners. The Sox have used Tim Wakefield and Alfredo Aceves as fill-in starters, and the team is 3-3 in the six starts they've made since Matsuzaka and Lackey went on the DL.

The Red Sox have also lost left-handed reliever Rich Hill, who had pitched eight scoreless innings before leaving Wednesday's game clutching his arm. The Boston Globe reported Thursday that Hill is also likely headed for season-ending surgery.
Posted on: June 11, 2010 10:29 am
Edited on: June 11, 2010 12:10 pm

3 to watch: The 2 days till Strasburg II edition

Until further notice, every Stephen Strasburg start is going to be worth watching. Thus, until further notice, every Stephen Strasburg start will be part of 3 to watch.

Strasburg II will be Sunday, and while there may have been a more-anticipated debut-plus-one, we can't remember one.

So who made the best second start ever?

A few candidates, with the help of's play finder :

-- Clay Buchholz, Sept. 1, 2007, for the Red Sox, against the Orioles. He threw a no-hitter. We really don't need any more candidates, do we?

-- Wilson Alvarez, Aug. 11, 1991, for the White Sox, against the Orioles. He threw a no-hitter, too. So there can be a debate, after all. Or maybe this just means we need to make plans for Strasburg's first start against the Orioles.
-- Burt Hooton, Sept. 15, 1971, for the Cubs, against the Mets. He was knocked out of the game by the Cardinals in the fourth inning of his debut, but Hooton rebounded with a complete game three-hitter, with 15 strikeouts.

-- Dick Selma, Sept. 12, 1965, for the Mets, against the Braves. A four-hit, 10-inning shutout for a 1-0 win, with 13 strikeouts. But only 13,500 turned up at Shea Stadium to see it, so it must not have been the most-anticipated Game 2 (and only 5,981 turned up at Wrigley Field for his next start, so the 10-inning shutout must not have been big news nationwide).

-- Tim Fortugno, July 25, 1992, for the Angels, against the Tigers. I must have been at this game, and yet I have no memory of it. A three-hit shutout, with 12 strikeouts.

-- Randy Johnson, Sept. 20, 1988, for the Expos, against the Cubs. The first of his 212 double-digit strikeout games, a 9-1 complete-game win.

-- Jack Morris, July 31, 1977, for the Tigers, against the Rangers. Morris, who belongs in the Hall of Fame, pitched nine innings and allowed two runs. Bert Blyleven, who many believe belongs in the Hall of Fame, pitched nine innings and allowed two runs. Maybe if one or the other had gotten the win, it would be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame.

On to 3 to watch:

1. Remember when Jake Peavy was supposed to be a Cub? Remember when the White Sox were supposed to be good? The White Sox aren't good, but at least Peavy gets a trip to the North Side, for White Sox at Cubs, Friday afternoon (2:20 EDT) at Wrigley Field .

2. Remember when Daisuke Matsuzaka last faced the Phillies? (Hint: It was only three weeks ago.) He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. The Phillies believed they were terribly unlucky that day, because they hit so many balls hard. We'll see, because they get another chance at Dice-K, in Phillies at Red Sox, Saturday afternoon (4:10 EDT) at Fenway Park .

3. Remember when nobody would have cared about a Nationals-Indians game? Now, it's big enough that TBS changed the schedule to show Nationals at Indians, Sunday afternoon (1:07 EDT) at Progressive Field . Any idea why? Must have something to do with the guy starting for the Nationals. Strasburg is one reason to watch this game. Catcher Carlos Santana, the Indians super-prospect who was called up Friday, is another.

Posted on: May 18, 2010 5:48 pm

Lowell's frustration highlights Red Sox issues

NEW YORK -- The tensions of losing are starting to show with the Red Sox.

Issues between catcher Victor Martinez and starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka were significant to prompt a pregame meeting Tuesday. While that meeting was going on, Mike Lowell sat at his locker and openly wished for a way out of his personal limbo.

"Sometimes you feel the team might be better off if you're not on it," said Lowell, the one-time third baseman who has seen his already limited playing time disappear with the revival of David Ortiz's bat.

Lowell said he has even considered asking the team to release him, but said he has not discussed that with Red Sox management.

And when manager Terry Francona was asked about Lowell expressing his frustrations, Francona gave a brusque answer.

"He hasn't to me," Francona said, repeating the same answer when the question was asked again.

Francona did spend time with Martinez and Matsuzaka, not surprising given the number of times Matsuzaka shook off his catcher Monday night against the Yankees, and given the way Martinez reacted after Monday's game as he talked about the shake-offs.

"I'm just back there trying to help him go through the game," Martinez said.

Francona said he doesn't mind the shake-offs, but he clearly doesn't want the problems to become so public.

"I think it was frustration showing," he said. "My point to both of them is we need to find out how to make it better."

It's a lot harder for the Red Sox to make Lowell's situation better, unless they do indeed release him (and that seems unlikely at this point). With Ortiz starting to hit, with Kevin Youkilis at first base and Adrian Beltre at third, there's really nowhere for Lowell to play.

And with Ortiz heating up, Lowell said he fully understood the decision to use Ortiz as the designated hitter Tuesday, even against left-hander CC Sabathia.

"I actually think it's right to keep him in the lineup," Lowell said.

But that doesn't help him any.

"It's painfully evident I don't have a role on the team," he said.

And it's painfully evident that the Red Sox have issues, beyond their 19-20 record.
Posted on: April 30, 2010 10:30 am

3 to watch: The who needs April edition

Saturday is May 1, and that means Saturday is the first anniversary of Joe Mauer's 2009 debut with the Twins.

The first anniversary of the first day of an MVP season.

A year ago today, the two teams that would meet for the American League championship were 11-10 (Yankees) and 9-11 (Angels). The team that would win the National League wild card, the Rockies, was 8-12. The guy who would win the NL Rookie of the Year (Chris Coghlan) was still in the minor leagues, and the guy who would win the AL Rookie of the Year (Andrew Bailey) had yet to record the first of his 26 saves.

The point isn't that April is meaningless. But a great season doesn't depend on it.

Which is good news for Cliff Lee, Brad Lidge, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ian Kinsler and anyone else readying for a 2010 debut this weekend.

And good news for this weekend's 3 to watch:

1. Felix and Cliff. Cliff and Felix. That was supposed to be the 2010 Mariners, right? So maybe it fits that Lee's injury-delayed Mariner debut falls on Felix Hernandez bobblehead night, in Rangers at Mariners, tonight (10:10 EDT) at Safeco Field . The M's went 11-11 while Lee recovered from an abdominal strain, and in the crazy American League West, that was good enough to leave them just half a game out of first place. They're one game ahead of the last-place Rangers, who will be just as happy to see second baseman Ian Kinsler make his 2010 debut, after missing the first month of the season with an ankle problem.

2. The Phillies survived Lidge's terrible 2009 season, all the way up to the World Series, so it's no real surprise that they survived when he missed the first 21 games of this season while recovering from elbow and knee surgeries. But fill-in closer Ryan Madson converted only four of his six save opportunities and has a 7.00 ERA, so we'll believe manager Charlie Manuel when he says, "We can always use Lidge back." He returns tonight, although the game we want to see in this series is Mets at Phillies, Saturday afternoon (3:10 EDT) at Citizens Bank Park . That's Roy Halladay (4-1, 1.80) against Mike Pelfrey (4-0, 0.69, and 24 consecutive scoreless innings). Of course, with Halladay's history (51 career complete games, including two in his first five starts with the Phillies), Lidge may not be needed on Saturday.

3. What should we expect from Matsuzaka, who missed the first month of the season with a strained neck? We really don't have much of an idea, do we, which is what makes his 2010 debut, in Red Sox at Orioles, Saturday night (7:05 EDT) at Camden Yards compelling. At his best, Matsuzaka gives the Red Sox perhaps the best 1-5 rotation in baseball, along with Josh Beckett (who had a terrible April), Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz. At his worst -- well, last year Matsuzaka was 4-6 with a 5.76 ERA in just 12 starts.

Posted on: October 24, 2008 2:53 am
Edited on: October 24, 2008 9:18 am

Shields does a Dice-K

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After James Shields lost to the Red Sox in Game 6 of the ALCS, Daisuke Matsuzaka told Japanese writers that he thought the pitching rubber had been shifted to Shields' benefit.

Not true, it seems, but funny, because in Shields' World Series win over the Phillies on Thursday, he kind of did a Dice-K.

Matsuzaka, you might remember, held opponents to a .201 batting average with runners in scoring position. His Red Sox teammates said he was a magician.

Sure enough, in Game 2 of the World Series, Shields held the Phillies to one infield single in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"I was just thinking about Dice-K, and what he said, because I think I took a page out of his book," Shields said. "Dice-K does a great job with runners in scoring position, and that's what I was able to do."


Cliff Floyd scored on a squeeze play Thursday, and Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz stole a base.

Ruiz became the first catcher to steal a base in a World Series game since Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski did it three years ago. No Phillies catcher had ever stolen a base in a World Series.

Ruiz had one regular-season steal.

Posted on: October 20, 2008 2:20 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2008 2:27 pm

Matsuzaka, not Papelbon, would have closed Game 7

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It turns out that Jonathan Papelbon was hurting even more than the Red Sox let on.

After the Sox lost Game 7 to the Rays on Sunday night, Daisuke Matsuzaka told Japanese reporters that he had been told to be ready to close Game 7, if needed. Matsuzaka, who started Game 5, said he was told by manager Terry Francona that Papelbon wouldn't be available.

 Papelbon admitted after Game 6 that he was "pretty beat up." When he took the mound for the ninth inning that night, Manny Delcarmen immediately began warming up in the bullpen behind him.

 Papelbon appeared in seven of the Red Sox' 11 postseason games, after making a career-high 66 appearances during the regular season. He has not allowed a run in 16 career postseason appearances.

Matsuzaka hasn't appeared out of the bullpen since 2004, when he pitched in relief for Seibu in Game 7 of the Japan Series. He has made only one other relief appearance as a professional, in the 2002 Japan Series.


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