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.

Indians to sign Tyler Clippard

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Jon Heyman reports that the Indians are signing Tyler Clippard to a minor league deal. He’ll make $1.75 million if he makes the big league roster.

Clippard, a 12-year veteran who just turned 34, pitched in 73 games for the Blue Jays last year, posting a 3.67 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 85/23 in 68.2 innings. It was a nice bounce back year for him after he spent 2017 bouncing among three different teams in the course of a below average campaign.

With the departures of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, and the elevation of Brad Hand to the closer’s role, Terry Francona will be looking for all the mid-innings help he can get in the Indians’ pen. Clippard could fit that bill.