June 23, 2009

Could Matsuzaka Miss The Rest Of The Year?

No one is saying when Daisuke Matsuzaka might return to the Red Sox rotation. But reading between the lines of Terry Francona's and John Farrell's comments, though, the idea of Dice missing the rest of the season is a serious possibility.

I don't think that's really my decision and I don't think frankly anybody really knows how things are going to proceed. All I can do right now is do what I need to do. ... Let's say, in the end, they start using a five-man rotation without me and that's working well. If those guys are pitching well and the rotation's working well all throughout the year, maybe there won't be a space for me to come back.
Over the weekend, Francona was not shy about expressing his negative opinions about the WBC. However, if Dice was planning on pitching in the 2009 WBC, he should have made sure he was in top shape to participate. It appears that he was not.

The Herald's Michael Silverman notes that every Red Sox pitcher
has been on the team's shoulder and arm strength and conditioning program since last year ended. Except Matsuzaka. ...

The team already said that Matsuzaka's involvement in the WBC is behind his two trips to the DL because he was throwing pitches in earnest before his body was ready. Matsuzaka was not ready because he was not on the Red Sox' shoulder program. ...

Penny and Papelbon rave about the program. Not until Matsuzaka made his last start Friday did he state it was time to try a different approach.
If Matsuzaka failed to follow the team's conditioning program and did not, in anticipation of the WBC, begin his spring training earlier, he deserves to catch a lot of the anger currently being directed at the WBC.

Silverman also has a quick look at how Matsuzaka is currently perceived in Japan.

Shortstop Jed Lowrie began his rehab assignment with Pawtucket on Sunday, going 0-for-1 with two walks and an RBI. ... Jonathan Van Every will undergo arthoscopic surgery on his left knee sometime this week. ... The Red Sox are the only major league team with a winning record when their opponent scores first: 15-11 (.577).

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