Daisuke Matsuzaka rips the Red Sox training regimen in the Japanese press:
“If I’m forced to continue to train in this environment, I may no
longer be able to pitch like I did in Japan. The only reason why I
managed to win games during the first and second years (in the U.S.)
was because I used the savings of the shoulder I built up in Japan.
Since I came to the Major Leagues, I couldn’t train in my own way, so
now I’ve lost all those savings.”
The most interesting part is that, based on the original article in
Japanese as relayed by WEEI, it appears as though Dice-K is telling the
Red Sox that racial differences between Japanese and American pitchers
require different physical training and rehab approaches. Yes, I’m sure
that has everything to do with it and the facts that (a) Matsuzaka
threw about 10 gazillion pitches a game while playing in Japan; and (b)
wouldn’t know how to work efficiently if an efficiency expert fell from
the sky, landed on his head and started to wiggle have nothing to do
with it whatsoever.
But hey, I’m prone to cynicism and I could be wrong. Indeed, maybe all Dice-K needs in order to get his arm back in order is a manager sympathetic to the racial differences in players.
Just like you “don’t find too many brothers in New Hampshire,” maybe
it’s just the natural evolutionary order of things that you don’t find
too many Japanese workhorses in Boston.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: