The pitching staff is expecting to get a boost fairly soon when Daisuke Matsuzaka returns following Tommy John surgery, while Andrew Bailey continues to work back from his thumb injury.
Meanwhile, Kevin Youkilis is actually eligible to come off the disabled list already, but Will Middlebrooks‘ production is making things a little bit easier for Youkilis to make sure he’s fully healthy before returning.
Don Orsillo looked at all three of those scenarios and what the potential returns could mean for the ballclub as well as much more in this week’s mailbag.
What should the Red Sox do with Daisuke Matsuzaka when he returns?
I think he will be a starter for sure. I also think a six-man rotation is a possibility. It was somewhat of a surprise Monday when we learned he would be making more rehab starts. All along it was publically stated he would have one more (Saturday) and be ready. I guess they did not like what they saw in what was to be his last start and now have added a few more. They do have a bigger window of days he can rehab so I guess it buys them time and hopefully he performs better in his outings. I think a six-man could work and lesson the load for some of the arms who are not used to going as many innings as they are going to this year (Daniel Bard).
What are your thoughts about Kevin Youkilis and his future? If he retires, do you think the Red Sox will pick him up as a third-base coach or add him to the club in any way?
— Josh Hersey
My thoughts are the Red Sox are a better team with him healthy and in the lineup. When healthy, he is still a very productive player offensively and defensively. In my mind you have to find a spot for him when he comes back. Maybe the outfield is a possibility or some days at third and first. I don’t think any kind of retirement thoughts have entered his mind despite the injuries, and is really not on the radar right now. I think he can help this club when he is ready to return.
When will we see Andrew Bailey back, and what will Aceves’ role be when he does return?
Good question. I think the All-Star break seems to be the dates they have thrown around. I think this manager is very careful to put dates on things so as to not add pressure to the players rehabbing to return. When he does return I think Aceves would be an ideal choice for set-up man. He has done a nice job, especially lately, but Bailey still is the closer when he comes back.
Should players earn more than the coach? It never made any sense that a coach/boss/skipper makes less. How do you get players that earn more than you to listen and do what the coach wants?
— Dominic Libby
I agree it makes things tough, especially if the manager does not have the backing of the general manager in disciplinary situations. The manager in today’s game becomes somewhat powerless. The players know this and it is a problem. I think the only thing a manager can do is bench someone because at the end of the day players are very competitive and want to play. It’s sort of the last bit of power a manager has. Most managers do have the respect of their players, especially if they have been successful managers in the past, but those who do not are really up against it.
Don, of all the funny moments you have had with Jerry, what would you say was the most hilarious?
— Robert S Petersen
For me personally, it was about seven years ago in Tampa. We always wear golf shirts in the summer in Tampa. It is generally incredibly hot at that time of year and getting to the park in a suit is really uncomfortable. The same thing happens in Texas. We had one of our former bosses, who is no longer with NESN, request that we wear better attire in the middle of a series. So Jerry decided that if we had to wear better attire he would wear a tuxedo. When we arrived at the park, he got a tuxedo from the one of the restaurant hosts pregame and wore it in the open. I barely made it through the open and could not make eye contact with him without laughing but did the rest of the night as I looked over at him doing the game in a tuxedo.