Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, on Daisuke Matsuzaka’s chances of pitching again this season after landing on the disabled list with shoulder weakness:
Our every intention will be to get him back this year. Now, I say
that with no end time frame that says on August 1, he’s going to be
back in our rotation. There are going to be objectives that he’s going
to have to meet along the way here both in terms of strength and
conditioning, both from a body standpoint and from a shoulder
standpoint. … I think it’s important to clarify, there are reports
out there that Daisuke is suffering from a sore shoulder. That is far
from the truth.
He does have some deficiencies in strength that goes back to the
preparation for a full season that in this case has not been afforded.
And when you ramp up too quick, you fatigue it, and then trying to come
back, you’re working it to get back in shape and there’s just not ample
time or format to do that. Fortunately with [John] Smoltz coming to us,
we have that time on our side and we’re going to take the time needed
to get Daisuke right to the pitcher he was the past two years.
In other words, don’t expect to see Matsuzaka any time soon. His injury
allows Boston to add John Smoltz to the rotation without having to
trade Brad Penny and the Red Sox’s incredible pitching depth–along
with Smoltz and Penny, they also have Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden
at Triple-A–leaves them with no real incentive to bring Matsuzaka back
before he’s clearly ready.
Interestingly, Farrell went on to blame the World Baseball Classic
for Matsuzaka’s shoulder problems, saying: “I think it’s clear now that
there have been two of these tournaments, that the season performances
of the pitchers who participate in that tournament take a step
backward. It’s not just Daisuke.”
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.
Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.
On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.
For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”
Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.
MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”
Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.
The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.