Dice-K tosses five scoreless innings in rehab outing

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Daisuke Matsuzaka kicked off a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday afternoon by allowing two hits over five scoreless innings. He issued one walk while hitting two batters and striking out three. He topped out at 93 mph on the radar gun, according to the Associated Press.

Dice-K was pulled after
throwing 73 pitches, though he was originally expected to throw 80-85 pitches. Despite leaving earlier than intended, Matsuzaka told Tom Layman of WEEI.com (through his interpreter) that he felt healthy and did not leave the outing due to fatigue.

“It was more technical issues,” Matsuzaka said. “I think I was trying to
be a little too fine with those pitches.”

Matsuzaka is expected to make at least two more rehab starts before possibly rejoining the Red Sox rotation later this month.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.