Daisuke Matsuzaka to begin rehab assignment Monday

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Daisuke Matsuzaka is far enough ahead of schedule in his recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery that he’s slated to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Monday at high Single-A.

Matsuzaka went under the knife last June and the typical recovery timetable is 12 months, but Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox will already allow him to throw around 75 pitches Monday.

Or as manager Bobby Valentine put it: “He’s ready to start dealing with competition rather than rehabilitation.”

Once the rehab assignment begins Matsuzaka has a maximum of 30 days in the minors, which if used would equal about five total starts and leave him on track to rejoin the Red Sox at some point in May. Of course, any kind of setback could restart that timetable and there’s little reason for the Red Sox to rush him back considering how shaky he was before the injury, but so far so good.

Twins sign Michael Pineda to a two-year deal

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The Twins just announced that they have signed pitcher Michael Pineda to a two-year contract.

Pineda, 28, has a 4.05 career ERA and has struck out 9.1 batters per nine innings over 680 career major league innings.

Pineda underwent Tommy John surgery this past July, so the Twins are buying a 2018 filled mostly with rehab and a pitcher for 2019. As such, the deal is probably not too taxing financially, but could pay off pretty well for them if Pineda comes back strong.