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 Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.