Daisuke Matsuzaka would not talk to reporters about his neck discomfort Saturday, but he did issue a short statement through a team spokesperson. Here it is, via the Boston Globe:
“I didn’t throw live BP today due to stiffness in my neck. As for my
schedule going forward, I’m going to see how I feel tomorrow, meet with
the coaching staff and decide at that point.”
The 29-year-old right-hander failed to complete a scheduled live batting practice session on Saturday due to neck stiffness and is almost certain to miss the start of the regular season. It’s another disappointing setback for a guy in desperate need of a turn-around performance in 2010. He made just 12 starts last season and finished with an ugly 4-6 record on top of an even uglier 5.76 ERA. It’s not known when he will be ready to compete again, but chances are we won’t see him until late April or even May.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.