BOSTON, MA: Daisuke Matsuzaka #19 of the Boston Red Sox throws in the outfield before a game with the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Tuesday's Red Sox news was not just limited to the draft. Dustin Pedroia is starting tonight, Darnell McDonald's rehab assignment is over, and Daniel Bard was sent to the minors to work on his command and confidence. Because of the last of those, Boston is in need of a fifth starter for Saturday's game against the Washington Nationals. With Aaron Cook still on the disabled list, that duty falls to Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Matsuzaka is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Pawtucket tonight, but will now be limited to just three innings in order to keep him fresh enough to start in place of Bard on Saturday. He has been inconsistent at Pawtucket during his rehab assignment, but over his last two starts and 10-plus innings, has six strikeouts against one walk and one home run, with just one run scored. He might not be 100 percent back just yet -- though if he's being called up, he's likely there in terms of health -- but chances are good he's going to be better than Bard was in his last disaster of a start.
Since Dice-K hasn't been moved to the 25-man roster just yet -- Boston will likely wait until Saturday to do so -- the corresponding move isn't known. But it's likely going to involve sending Will Middlebrooks down before the impending interleague series on the road forces him to a week on the major-league bench anyway, or designating Marlon Byrd for assignment.
Dice-K isn't the only Pawtucket news, either, as Ryan Kalish has now joined him there for his own rehab assignment. Kalish remains on the 60-day disabled list, and not on the 40-man roster, but his assignment hasn't reached the point where that needs to be rectified, either.
There hasn't been much word on when Jacoby Ellsbury is going to return to action from his dislocated shoulder, or just what stage of his rehab process he's in, but today he was throwing 90 feet in the outfield. It's not just throwing that he's up to, though, as he was also hitting off of a tee.
Cody Ross also hit, and did so without pain, a good sign considering the fracture in his foot was suffered back on May 18. Not all of the injury news is great, though, as Carl Crawford has not yet been cleared to throw. Whether he's behind or right on schedule isn't known, thanks to the overall quiet surrounding the rehab process to begin with.
Even if Crawford isn't ready, Boston's outfield will look very different in as soon as a few weeks, and if not by then, at least during July. The reserves have done very well to make up for their loss, but Boston's outfield at full strength is a different beast.
As mentioned, Bard was optioned to Pawtucket, but the intent is to keep him there as a starter:
We felt the best thing for Daniel and the organization was to get in an environment where he can work on that mechanic and not have to worry about the big league record and his teammates.
If you're thinking this is just like the Joba Chamberlain situation in New York, you can just put that card right back in the deck. Save it for if the Red Sox start to bounce Bard between starting and relieving constantly for years on end, rather than for when they decide to let him work on things in the minors without changing his role.