Daisuke Matsuzaka’s minor-league rehab assignment and return from Tommy John elbow surgery has been put on hold because of what the Red Sox are calling pain in his trapezius muscle.
At one point it looked like Matsuzaka was on the verge of coming off the disabled list and rejoining the Red Sox’s rotation, but manager Bobby Valentine told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that the new injury “has been nagging him for quite a while and we’ve got to make sure that that’s 100 percent before he’s going out there again.”
In other words, don’t count on seeing Matsuzaka in Boston for a while. His rehab stint had been a mixed bag, with a strong 22/6 K/BB ratio in 25 innings coming along with a 4.62 ERA and .260 opponents’ batting average.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.