Severity of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Injury Still Unclear

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Although the Red Sox have already made the decision to bump Daisuke Matsuzaka from his scheduled start Friday in Tampa Bay due to a stiff lower back, the extent of the issue remains unclear.

Matsuzaka, who felt the pain throwing in the outfield Wendesday afternoon at Fenway Park, will be looked at again Thursday before the team flies to Florida. Manager Terry Francona said that moving Jon Lester from Wednesday to Friday to take Matsuzaka's start was a precautionary maneuver brought on by the fact that the club has yet to determine how severe Matsuzaka's injury is.

"We started thinking about it," Francona said of the scene in the clubhouse after Matsuzaka came in ailing. "We pitch [Tim Wakefield] tonight, we back Lester up and we pitch Dice when he's able, rather than try to wait and have a game time decision two days from now or not have a pitcher.

"But we kind of had to get there in a hurry."

There are no scheduled tests or scans for Matsuzaka's back. Wakefield went 5 2/3 innings on short notice in his first start in over a month, giving his team a chance opposite Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.

The Red Sox lost 4-2.

"That's a lot to ask," Francona said of Wakefield. "He did a very good job."

Matsuzaka began the year on the disabled list with a strained neck and went back on it in mid-June with a forearm injury.

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