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06/06/2012 - 5:26pm
Daisuke scheduled to start on Saturday

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.

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06/06/2012 - 4:52pm
PawSox pitching coach talks Bard
By: DJ Bean

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....

06/06/2012 - 4:44pm
Bard to pitch Friday in Pawtucket

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....

06/06/2012 - 4:35pm
Source: Sox close to deal with 1st rd pick

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...

06/06/2012 - 3:06pm
Bobby V: No decision on Bard's future

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...

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