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05/18/2012 - 7:29pm
Matsuzaka: 'I feel fine right now'

PHILADELPHIA -- Daisuke Matsuzaka said prior to the Red Sox' series-opening game with the Phillies that he is physically sound and optimistic after Thursday's rehab start.

Matsuzaka, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, pitched 6 2/3 innings in his most recent outing, giving up five runs (4 earned) while striking out three, and not walking a batter. The righty allowed two home runs, including a three-run blast.

"The last start I felt very confident out there," he said through translator Jeff Cutler. "I felt like I was able to grasp something that I was missing in the previous starts. So I am definitely getting closer to making it back to the majors. It depends on how I feel in my next start and how I feel at that point."

When asked how he felt physically, Matsuzaka said, "It's the first time in a long time that I threw as deep into the game as I did [Thursday night]. But I feel fine right now. Nothing awkward, no...

05/18/2012 - 4:46pm
Papelbon: 'Cinco's always got the advantage'

PHILADELPHIA -- Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, now set to face the team with whom he spent his first six big league seasons as a member of the Phillies, suggested that he'd been circling Boston's trip to Citizens Bank Park since he signed his four-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies as a free agent this offseason.

"I’ve been looking forward to this series since the day that I signed here," said Papelbon, who cited as the basis of his enthusiasm the possibility of "facing old teammates, bragging rights. It’s like, you play with your brother in the backyard for so many years, you want to have those bragging rights. I don’t want to have to hear it from Pedroia or someone like that, text messages. I want to be giving it to him. It will be fun."

Papelbon said that he did not anticipate any anxiety should he be on the mound against his former teammates.

"I’m just going to go out...

05/18/2012 - 3:48pm
Lineup: Ortiz sits vs. Hamels

With the start of interleague play and the Red Sox operating without a DH while playing under National League rules in Philadelphia, David Ortiz is out of Friday's lineup against the Phillies and left-handed starter Cole Hamels.

But though Ortiz is sitting, it is worth noting that Hamels -- thanks in part to a devastating changeup -- has actually been far tougher on righties this year (.211/.255/.308/.564) than lefties (.286/.326/.452/.778). Hamels has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the majors this year, as he is 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA, and 5-0 with a 1.93 mark in his last six starts.

Hamels will face Daniel Bard, who is coming off of his third quality start (in six starts) this season. Bard, in his transition to the rotation, is 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA while averaging just over six innings a start. Bard will be tasked not just with pitching against Hamels but also hitting against him, as the right-hander almost surely will step to the plate...

05/18/2012 - 2:41pm
RI promises more aid to Schilling's company

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee announced Friday that the state will allocate millions of dollars in credits to help Curt Schilling's ailing video game company, 38 Studios, after the company made good on its overdue $1.1 million loan payment.

Schilling's company had delivered the loan payment check Thursday, but it was returned later in the day for insufficient funds. Chafee said the check was then cashed on Friday.

Meanwhile, Schilling took to Facebook on Friday to deny that he used Rhode Island funds to repay himself for money he used to support the company.

"That's not true," wrote Schilling, who has refused media requests to discuss his floundering company.

Thursday night, Schilling wrote a note of thanks to his backers: To all the prayers and well wishes to the team and families at 38, God Bless and thank you! We will find a way, and the strength, to endure.


05/18/2012 - 1:45pm
Phillies' Manuel, umpire both suspended

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will not be in the dugout for Friday's opening game of a three-game interleague series with the Red Sox. The veteran bench boss was suspended one game and fined by Major League Baseball for "aggressive arguing and inappropriate contact," stemming from his dispute with umpire Bob Davidson in Tuesday's game vs. the Astros.

Davidson also was suspended one game, for "repeated violations of the Office of the Commissioner's standards for situation handling," according to MLB. Davidson, a 22-year veteran who ranked fourth on Sports Illustrated's player's poll of worst umpires last year, repeatedly swore at the Manuel after ejecting him for arguing from the dugout.


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