Daisuke Matsuzaka, coming off the best two-start stretch of his Red Sox career, left Friday night’s game against the Mariners in the fifth inning with right elbow tightness.
Dice-K didn’t show any obvious signs of injury before being removed. Jason Varitek came out to chat with him following an Ichiro Suzuki single in the fifth and then called for the training. After a conversation, he left the game and was replaced by Matt Albers.
Matsuzaka allowed two runs in the first, one of which was uearned. He was changed with a third run, also unearned, after departing in the fifth.
The Red Sox have always opted to tread carefully with Matsuzaka, so it’s safe to assume he’ll be placed on the DL after this one. Rotation depth is an issue for the team at the moment, as the team’s projected six-through-eight starters have all spent time in the bullpen this month. Tim Wakefield is still there, of course. Felix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves both recently returned to Triple-A Pawtucket to start, and Aceves threw five innings in his outing today.
Aceves figures to be the eventual choice to replace Dice-K on the roster, but since he won’t be available for a few days, Michael Bowden could get the callup on Saturday.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.
Yadier Molina suffered a mild ligament tear in his left thumb on September 20, but the Cardinals announced Monday that they remain “optimistic” he’ll be on the roster for the upcoming NLDS.
Molina visited a hand specialist Monday and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he’ll have a custom splint built in hopes that he’ll be able to hit and catch. He’s still not 100 percent, but even a limited Molina could be better than the alternative. That would be Tony Cruz in this case.
The Cardinals will meet the winner of Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and the Pirates. Game 1 of the NLDS will take place Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET in St. Louis.