During Thursday's pregame news conference, the Red Sox skipper wanted
to avoid divulging his plans for Daisuke Matsuzaka. Eventually, though, he caved.
"He'll pitch Monday — not here, necessarily,"
Valentine said. "He has a bullpen. [Aaron] Cook has a
bullpen. We have Josh [Beckett] going out there. There's a lot of things going
on. Unless we just want to start some stir on something, I don't think there's
any reason to even talk about it."
Matsuzaka, of course, is a polarizing pitcher. With his
contract due to expire at the end of the season –– and Matsuzaka expressing a
desire to return –– the Red Sox' plan for the pitcher could offer a subtle
indication of his future with the team.
After much prodding, Valentine finally disclosed that the
31-year-old, who is healthy, would likely stay in Pawtucket. Before suffering a
setback, he struggled in five starts with Boston, posting an 0-3 record with a
6.65 ERA to go with 20 strikeouts and eight walks.
With a new surgically repaired elbow, Matsuzaka believes
greener pastures remain ahead.
"After I had the surgery, my body definitely feels
better than it did before, which is a good thing," Matsuzaka said.
"It's definitely been stressful and frustrating at the same time to have
to fight through all these injuries. But I think I'm finally at a good place
and I'm looking forward to getting better and better every time I pitch."
For now, at least, he'll be pitching in Pawtucket.
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