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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Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
AP Images
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.