Matsuzaka is a starter through and through, so putting him in the bullpen is likely out of the question. That means manager Bobby Valentine will have to decide whether to go with a six-man rotation, something that’s rather unorthodox, or move one of his other starters.
Boston’s starting pitching has been rather inconsistent throughout the early part of the season, so the hope is that Matsuzaka can provide some quality innings. However, it remains to be seen who those innings will be at the expense of.
Jon Lester and Josh Beckett are firmly implanted as the team’s No. 1 and 2 starters, even if they’ve had momentary lapses through the first month and a half. That means Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront or Daniel Bard could lose out on some starts when Matsuzaka makes his return.
Buchholz looked sharp on Friday night, but he’s had a nightmare season thus far. The right-hander is 4-1, but his ERA sits at 8.31. However, the talent is certainly there, which we’ve seen in previous years.
Doubront, meanwhile, has pitched well at times, so although he’s a candidate to move to the bullpen, Valentine may want to keep handing him the ball at the start of games.
And when it comes to Bard, we’ve seen already that the Red Sox would rather use him as a starter, even if he was used out of the pen on one occasion this season.
What do you expect to happen upon Matsuzaka’s return?