Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is on a minor league rehab assignment while working his way back from Tommy John surgery, is slated to make his third rehab start on Monday in Pawtucket against Rochester, the Triple-A affiliate of the Twins. The Red Sox had hoped to get a start for Matsuzaka as soon as Friday against Toledo, but ended up pushing the start back by two factors.
Though thunderstorms were in the forecast for Toledo for Friday -- something of which the team was mindful that it might have to shift the locale and possibly date of Matsuzaka's first start against Triple-A competition -- Sox manager Bobby Valentine said on Friday that the decision to delay Matsuzaka's start occurred without influence of the weather. The manager said that the right-hander is dealing with "a little neck issue" on the left side of his neck.
"Daisuke came up [to Boston after his last rehab start in Portland on Saturday] and he had a little neck issue that we wanted to make sure felt perfect before he threw a [bullpen session] again. We kept pushing the 'pen back," said Valentine. "He wasn’t really scheduled to pitch today. We wanted a lot of the press to go there, help out the economy a little in Toledo. We’ll see if we can’t do that, but we talked on I guess Tuesday and Wednesday and said we’ll revolve his next start around his bullpen availability and condition. Today is going to be his bullpen day, or tomorrow, depending on what he feels like when he goes out and plays catch. He can pitch Monday, and I think we’ll have better weather. Initially the Friday thing was a weather concern and then it became a neck concern. ... We all decided before he gets back on the mound let’s see if he can’t clear that up, because he only has a couple more starts before that clock stops."
Matsuzaka is currently on a minor league rehab assignment as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. He can spend 30 days pitching in the minor leagues before the assignment concludes. His rehab clock started when he made his first start on April 23, meaning that the Sox have until May 22 for him to pitch in the minors.
The three-day setback is not enough for the Sox to reset the pitcher's rehab clock. Major league rules require a pitcher on a rehab assignment to be delayed by at least seven days for a team to be able to start a new 30-clock for his rehab assignment.
Matsuzaka has made one start with High-A Salem and another with Double-A Portland, allowing four runs in 8 2/3 innings while striking out 10 and walking two. He was particularly impressive in his start with Portland last Saturday, in which he went 4 2/3 innings while striking out seven and allowing just one earned run before reaching his pitch count.
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