Oakland, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (18) delivers a pitch during the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Daisuke Matsuzaka began a second rehab assignment on July 30, and made his second appearance in it on Sunday with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. Matsuzaka lasted just three innings -- though that was longer than his first outing -- once again striking out three batters against one walk. This time, though, he gave up four runs on five hits, and it took him 75 pitches to get through those three frames.
Matsuzaka started the fourth inning, but failed to record and out and exited with the bases loaded. Only one run counted against him, as there was an error by Jose Iglesias that occurred before the other three runs scored. As is usual with Dice-K, his early rehab work seems to be a mixed bag, as the walks are low, the strikeouts high, but the pitch count is just too high, especially considering he's facing minor-league hitters.
It's unclear at this point if he'll actually be used as a starter in the majors again, or at all, once he recovers from the trapezius strain that sent him back to the DL in the first place. Aaron Cook might not be long for the rotation given his recent performances, but when Josh Beckett is ready to go once more, the Sox will already have five starters, six if you count Cook as the first wave of defense.
Andrew Bailey made his third rehab appearance, coming into a Double-A Portland game in the seventh inning. He allowed one run on three hits, striking out two batters and walking none. Bailey threw 27 pitches, too many in an inning of relief, but in a way, a good sign considering he's trying to work back fast in order to join the Boston bullpen. A 27-pitch outing in his third appearance of the season is a good thing in terms of how close to ready he might already be, at least physically.