After seeing the results of an MRI exam, Matsuzaka said the sprained ligament in his elbow is "worst than I expected." He won't do any throwing for at least two weeks before being re-examined. It's also possible he will seek a second opinion.
Matsuzaka felt elbow tightness Monday night when he allowed five runs and walked seven in 4 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles. He left an April 29 start with similar tightness but said the pain was more acute this week.
"In general, I could've held the pain and still continued to throw before. But at this point, I really can't," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "It's difficult to hold it and throw with this kind of pain. I usually have a high tolerance, but this time, it's hard for me to keep throwing."
According to a statement released by the Red Sox's medical director, Dr. Thomas Gill, Matsuzaka has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and a strain of his common flexor mass. Manager Terry Francona said it's "probably ambitious" that Matsuzaka would begin throwing in two weeks, even if he demonstrates improvement in his next exam.
It's possible Matsuzaka won't return before the All-Star break.
In his last three appearances, including a relief appearance in the 13th inning May 4, Matsuzaka has allowed 11 runs in 11 1/3 innings. Francona said it isn't always easy to gauge how Matsuzaka is feeling because of the language barrier. At this point, the Red Sox are optimistic that the injury will heal without surgery.
"I'm glad we got him looked at because I don't know that he really wanted to," Francona said. "I'm glad we did before it turned into something that maybe couldn't be manageable."
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