After the pitcher surrendered five runs through 1 1/3
innings against the Blue Jays, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he was
contemplating replacing Matsuzaka with Alfredo Aceves in the starting staff.
That won’t be the case. Before Tuesday’s series-opener
against the Yankees, Valentine and pitching coach Randy Niemann watched
Matsuzaka’s session and emerged with optimism.
“He looked real good,” Valentine said.
“Talked to him today, think we might have found something that feels good
about him. He’s going to pitch on Friday.”
In eight starts this season –– following Tommy John
surgery –– Matsuzaka posted a 1-5 record with a 7.20 ERA. He’s walked 15
batters while striking out 32 through 35 innings this season.
But Valentine thinks a minor tweak in his delivery could
help his cause moving forward.
“A little thing out of the stretch that he felt
better about,” Valentine said of what Matsuzaka is trying to work on. “His command wasn’t good out of the
stretch the other day. Hopefully, his command will be better next time.”
Meanwhile, the skipper confirmed that lefty Felix
Doubront would also make his next start as scheduled. There was talk of shutting Doubront
down for the season after he eclipsed his career high in innings this year.