So much for all that talk about Matsuzaka being healthy and in good shape and all of that:
According to translations, the Kyodo News and the Japanese sports web
site Sponichi Annex reported a few days ago that Matsuzaka, who was an
early arrival here, had skipped his throwing session at the end of last
week because of tightness in his back, and his no-show on the field
Tuesday would suggest that the condition had not improved sufficiently
to resume throwing. The Japanese media outlets had reported that the
Red Sox were aware of the condition, though Red Sox general manager
Theo Epstein did not mention it while discussing Matsuzaka with
reporters on Monday.
There was concern among some in Red Sox land that Tim Wakefield would become disgruntled as a result of not having a set spot in the rotation. If this is a harbinger of another injury-filled season for Dice-K, Wakefield may very well be quite gruntled this season.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.