After the third start in his rehab assignment –– stemming from the discomfort in his neck –– on Wednesday, Matsuzaka told reporters in Pawtucket that he felt as healthy as he’s been in quite some time.
“After my previous start I felt that I definitely needed to throw in the minors again, have another rehab start,” Matsuzaka said. “But today I felt a lot better, and I think the results weren’t what I wanted, but I felt a lot better. I threw a lot better, and I threw about 100 pitches. My pitch count went up, and I feel like I’m ready to make the step up.”
But his numbers could’ve been better against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 5 2/3 innings, Matsuzaka tossed 97 pitches and surrendered five runs (four earned), five hits, two walks to go along with five strikeouts.
The 30-year-old only experienced one subpar inning -– the fifth frame –– in which the Yankees’ Triple-A team scored all its runs. It snowballed when he made a throwing error.
“Overall I think I threw well,” he said. “But after the fourth inning, I saw my pitch count, I saw it was low and can’t exactly say what I changed, but I changed something. And that might have had an effect on what happened. But if I didn’t make that error, it wouldn’t have been as bad as it was.”
After consulting Pawtucket’s staff, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine came away learning that Matsuzaka tossed his best stuff and threw with his best command since getting shelved. The skipper insinuated there were no more limitations with Matsuzaka.
As of now, Valentine told reporters in Baltimore there were no plans to activate Matsuzaka and that he would make another start in Triple-A in five days.