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Francona won't pull plug on Matsuzaka

The Sports Xchange
Francona won't pull plug on Matsuzaka · Roster Report · Notes, Quotes

Terry Francona granted that right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was "horrendous" Monday night against the Rays.

But the Red Sox manager isn't ready to give up on Matsuzaka either.

"The second inning was tough to watch," Francona conceded, referring to Matsuzaka allowing the first seven batters of that frame to reach base on six hits and a walk. "But if you make decisions based on emotions, a bad start, you wouldn't have a team left."

In two starts this season, Matsuzaka is 0-2 with a 12.86 ERA. He gave up seven runs in two-plus innings Monday night against Tampa Bay and left Fenway Park to a chorus of boos.

Upon further review, Francona said Matsuzaka's fastball appeared "flat" and often floated over the middle of the plate. After one of the Red Sox's other starters suffers through a similar outing, Francona is often able to chat with them the following day. But Matsuzaka's English never has progressed far enough to allow Francona to do that.

"The hard thing for me is that I can't have the casual conversation with Dice," Francona said before the Red Sox's 3-2 loss to the Rays on Tuesday. "It's easy to have them with anybody, if (John) Lackey walks in the clubhouse or (Jon) Lester or whoever. You can't do that with Dice besides just saying, 'Hello,' and that's frustrating. That doesn't mean he can't pitch good. But it's hard to have that casual conversation where you can ask, 'Hey, what are you thinking?' without the translator."

Francona said the Red Sox haven't made plans for Matsuzaka's next start, although with rain in the forecast for Wednesday, it may be possible for them to skip his next turn, which would be scheduled for Saturday against the Blue Jays.

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