Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed seven innings of one-run ball in his first start back after missing two months with a neck injury, but he’s allowed 11 runs in five innings since then and it sounds like the Red Sox have just about seen enough.
Matsuzaka failed to make it out of the second inning Saturday against the Blue Jays and is now 1-5 with a 7.20 ERA in eight starts since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery.
Asked about his status, manager Bobby Valentine told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that he’s “not sure” if Matsuzaka will remain in the rotation and added that “we’re going to have some meetings here, with him too … he was very disappointed yesterday and so was I.”
In past years the Red Sox have stuck with Matsuzaka through similar struggles, but the big difference this time around is that his contract is finally over after this season. Boston isn’t exactly overflowing with quality rotation options at this point, but when Matsuzaka’s time with the Red Sox will be over a month from now anyway there isn’t much motivation to keep trotting him out there.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.