Daisuke Matsuzaka Has MRI on Right Elbow, Status for Next Start Uncertain

Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka had an MRI on his ailing right elbow Tuesday afternoon. His status for a scheduled start Saturday against the Chicago Cubs is very much in the air.

Manager Terry Francona said the results of the exam were not immediately known as of his pregame press conference Tuesday. But with fellow starter John Lackey going on the disabled list Monday night, the club does not want to waste much time before deciding on Matsuzaka.

"We don't know," Francona said when asked if Matsuzaka could make his next start. "There's no reason to really do anything until we get the results back and talk to the medical people. Obviously, if there's a need to do something, we'd like to do it expeditiously because we would need a reliever in the meantime to help us through."

Matsuzaka walked seven and gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings Monday night against Baltimore. Once again, he showcased reduced velocity, a subject of concern since a start against Seattle on April 29 that he left with tightness in his right elbow.

The right-hander has a 7.04 ERA over his last four appearances, one of which was out of the bullpen. He had eight days between starts before Monday night's disaster.

If Matsuzaka is out for any period of time, the rotation, and the bullpen, will be taking its second hit in a 24-hour span.

Already, long man Tim Wakefield is taking Lackey's scheduled start Tuesday. Alfredo Aceves is one option to start in place of Matsuzaka, but with the bullpen already lacking Wakefield, Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler, there is some uncertainty as to whether that could happen. Aceves has made five appearances out of the bullpen since May 6.

"Aceves we wanted to see as a starter," Francona said. "Every time we send him down we tell him to get stretched out as a starter. … He's kind of taken that six, seventh-inning [role], faces lefties, righties.

"That's something to think about. We have to think about how to get around that."

Other options as potential Matsuzaka replacements at the Triple-A level include Brandon Duckworth, Kyle Weiland, Matt Fox and Andrew Miller, who has a 2.35 ERA in seven starts but has walked 24 men in 30 2/3 innings. Felix Doubront, who made three starts for Boston last year, is currently on the DL with a strained groin.

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