Will Dice-K ride to the rescue?

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Whether he was tipping pitches or not, the John Smoltz experiment didn’t work out in Boston. The same could be said for Brad Penny.

But help might be on the way, and not a moment too soon.

Daisuke Matsuzaka dazzled in his rehab appearance in a Gulf Coast League game on Monday, tossing three scoreless innings, striking out four and allowing only one hit.

And amazingly — for a guy who nibbles more than John Kruk — he needed only 37 pitches to get through the three innings. From the Globe:

“Everything was pretty good,” Francona said. “Good breaking ball. He commanded his fastball and stayed down. He had good changeups. Generally, really positive.”

Dice-K will make a Double-A start on Thursday, and could return to the Red Sox as early as Sept. 8.

In other Red Sox pitching news, Paul Byrd is toiling away at Triple-A Pawtucket. Not sure how much help Boston can expect on the Byrd front, however. His minor league line, in Pawtucket and the Gulf Coast League? 0-2, 5.73 ERA, 1.54 WHIP in three starts.

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Miguel Sano gained weight this offseason

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Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:

Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.

They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.

Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.

Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.

So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.