With Daniel Bard now in Triple-A Pawtucket, the Red Sox plan to activate right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka for a start on Saturday against the Nationals. That would mean that Matsuzaka will be making his start precisely 365 days after undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament last June.
In three starts since a cortisone shot, Matsuzaka has a 1.54 ERA with eight strikeouts, three walks and six hits in 11 2/3 innings. Overall, in eight rehab appearances spanning three levels, he has a 3.65 ERA with 30 strikeouts and nine walks in 37 innings. He tossed 1 1/3 innings for Triple-A Pawtucket and was lifted after 40 pitches on Tuesday in what amounted to a last tuneup prior to his activation.
While Valentine had felt that Matsuzaka was not yet ready to pitch in the majors when he saw him prior to a late-May cortison injection, in his recent outings the right-hander has appeared to find comfort with his delivery.
PAWTUCKET -- One day before the anticipated arrival of Daniel Bard, PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur said the point of the the former first-round-pick's assignment is simple: To solve his mechanical woes and get him back to Boston as soon as possible.
Sauveur has been Pawtucket's pitching coach since 2008, so he worked with the right-hander during Bard's brief stint (11 appearances) with Pawtucket prior to his callup to the majors in 2009.
Bard was a reliever when Sauveur last worked with him, but the Pawtucket pitching coach assumed Wednesday that Bard will remain a starting pitcher despite struggling thus far in his first season in the rotation. In 11 appearances (10 starts) this season, the 26-year-old is 5-6 with a 5.24 earned run average, 34 strikeouts and a team-leading 37 walks. His walk total is tied for sixth in the majors.
"He's going to have to be mentally prepared to be here for just a little bit....
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that right-hander Daniel Bard will make his first appearance for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, starting but making a relatively short appearance. The team hasn't defined the length of that outing, but as is sometimes the case with minor league starters who struggle, the team wants to build off of a short stint and go from there.
"He has a very good idea of what he's got to do," said Cherington. "He's just focusing on the fundamentals of what allowed him to be elite and what will allow him to be elite in the future, getting those locked in and then we'll worry about pitch counts and role and all that stuff later."
Bard was 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 37 walks in 55 innings in 11 games (10 starts) this year in his conversion from the bullpen to the rotation. He was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday after walking six in just 1 2/3 innings and allowing five runs on Sunday....
According to a major league source, the Red Sox are close to deals with both supplemental first-round pick Pat Light (taken with the No. 37 overall selection) and second-rounder Jamie Callahan. The two hard throwers are in Boston for physicals as they finalize their deals.
Both are right-handed pitchers with significant upside, with Light -- who pitched at Monmouth University -- having what Red Sox scouting director Amiel Sawdaye called one of the best fastballs in the draft (a pitch that regularly registered at 98 mph this spring) and Callahan -- a Dillon (SC) High School product whom the Sox are signing away from a commitment at the University of South Carolina -- featuring a low- to mid-90s fastball and the makings of a swing-and-miss curve.
The bonus figures were not immediately available. Light's selection had a $1.394 million recommended slot figure, while Callahan's featured a $565,600 slot.
For more on Callahan, who went 7-1...
Bobby Valentine made his weekly appearance on The Big Show Wednesday and talked about the future of Daniel Bard. Bard was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday after struggling mightily during his time in the starting rotation. Valentine was asked if Bard will return to Boston as a starting pitcher or move back to the bullpen, where he had considerable success over the past three seasons.
"The conversation that Ben [Cherington] and Daniel and I had yesterday is that he's going to get comfortable with his mechanics, get comfortable with himself throwing the ball and we're not going to necessarily discuss the role," said Valentine of Bard, who has a 5.24 ERA and 37 walks in 55.0 innings pitched this season. "But when we touched on it, the idea that staring is still what he wants to do, and what we still think he can do."
Adrian Gonzalez has just four home runs in 244 plate appearances this season, and his .723 OPS is 157...
Chris Price joins Chris Villani to talk about the Patriots and Ravens upcoming Monday Night Football game and the rivalry between the two teams.
Patriots DB Devin McCourty tells Glenn, Lou, and Christian that Baltimore is always a tough matchup, he talks about how they don't fear playing at Gillette, and he's not concerned with the Reporters' question that seemed to irk Dont'a Hightower .
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe speak with ESPN's Trent Dilfer and look ahead to the match-up with his old team, the Baltimore Ravens.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of 'The Dale and Holley Show' talk about last night's disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about what the Celtics will need to do in order to be considered one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference along with the Cavs.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia talks with Josue Pavon about how the Celtics are looking better with Al Horford back on the court and the overall toughness of this team.
Sam Kennedy sits down with Mustard and Johnson to talk about the big off season for the Red Sox so far.
Trenni and Tomase sit down with John Farrell and talk to him about the trades and free agent signings that took place at the MLB winter meetings. They also talk about Pablo Sandoval, how his training is going in Florida and what to expect from him this upcoming year.
Dave Dombrowski joins Trenni and Tomase at Christmas at Fenway. They talked about the huge trade for Chris Sale, other off season moves and expectations for the upcoming season.
Hour two of Saturday Skate as Ken Laird and Rear Admiral take a more league-wide view of things with the Bruins' 28 games into the season
Ken Laird and Rear Admiral talk about the Bruins week that was, featuring five more goals from David Pastrnak, a Thursday clunker, and the Saturday call-up of Danton Heinen with a prospect update from Mark Divver of the Providence Journal
Hour two of Saturday Skate after a Bruins 2-1 over Buffalo, with Ken Laird and Rear Admiral debating the status of Krejci, Chara, Krug and Bergeron.
Mut ranks all 23 Dino Casting Couch members and Gary Tanguay posts another velfie on the Celtics and Kirk.
Mut defends himself in voting for Trump despite Alex Reimer's claim that he only voted for him because he goes along with whatever Gerry said. Damien Woody joins the guys for his second Friday interview.
Damien Woody praises Tom Brady's work ethic and thinks he can play three or four more seasons. Woody thinks Brady pushed the limits on Deflategate but it didn't play a role in the Patriots beating the Colts in the 2014 AFC Championship game.
No One is safe from OMF's Whiner Line.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian talk about Dont'a Hightower's forceful response to a question about the "Improving" Patriots Defense.
We check in with the playmaker for his weekly visit on the Dale, Holley and Keefe show.
Dale and Rich disagree again on this one... is LG a product of the system here or is he one of the NFL's best runningbacks?
Dale and Rich Keefe speak to Peter King about Patriots/Ravens and several other NFL topics.
Kirk Minihane, WEEI Podcast King, talks to the Podcast Godfather Adam Carolla about his new documentary about Le Mans, the backlash from the Election, and his time with Donald Trump on the Apprentice. The audio quality isn't great but the conversation is.
Kirk Minihane is a non-believer, Larry Johnson is a preacher, when Larry found Kirk doesn't believe in God he challenged Kirk to allow him on to the podcast to talk about religion and faith. Kirk and Larry have a tremendous conversation about God and Larry tries to convert Kirk into a believer.
The final episode of 2016 covers BC's bowl game against Maryland on December 26 in Detroit.
Mike Mutnansky returned to his K&C family after a short hiatus, full of spirit and some hate, and impressed on a Patriots Friday showing. Ken Laird and Chris Curtis (with Intern Kyle) have the audio rundown
K&C Producers Ken Laird and Chris Curtis are back at it after Thursday's non-Casting Couch show to discuss the day's program and deliver the day's best soundbytes.
Mike Lombardi thinks the Patriots should trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Cleveland Browns for a first-round pick next season. Mick Jagger will be a father to his eighth child at age 73 and the most overpaid actors and actresses in Headlines. The guys discuss Mut's internal struggle as to whether or not he should have a vasectomy.More from this show