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Matsuzaka cleared for a start

Pawtucket stint is set to resume

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / May 25, 2012
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Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was shut down last Sunday because of a sore neck, has been cleared to pitch and is scheduled to start for Triple A Pawtucket Saturday.

Matsuzaka will face Toledo in a 6:05 p.m. game at McCoy Stadium.

Matsuzaka started the season on the disabled list recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery he had last June. He started a rehabilitation assignment April 23 and did not pitch particularly well in five starts, posting a 4.62 earned run average.

That 30-day assignment was set to end Wednesday. But the Red Sox delayed Matsuzaka’s return to the majors by keeping him on the disabled list with a strained trapezius muscle that required a cortisone shot.

Now, starting Saturday, the Red Sox have another 30-day window to prepare Matsuzaka. In theory, he could be added to the roster as soon as next week if a need arises. He went 6 2/3 innings May 17 and is close to being fully stretched out.

Matsuzaka has appeared in only 45 games for the Red Sox over the last four seasons because of various injuries.

McDonald at Triple A

Darnell McDonald, out since May 12 with a strained rib cage muscle, will start his rehabilitation assignment with Pawtucket Friday against Toledo. McDonald was hitting .179 with a .634 OPS at the time of his injury. He is one of seven outfielders on the disabled list, and his return would give the team some much-needed depth at the position. McDonald slumped at the start of last season and was on the disabled list from May 26 to June 14 with what the team said was a quadriceps strain. He hit a more respectable .250 the remainder of the season with 12 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs in 136 at-bats.

Revenge of the nerds

The Red Sox will host the Rays for a three-game series starting Friday. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon picks themes for certain road trips and went with a “nerd’’ look for this one as a tribute to Fox reporter Ken Rosenthal, who wears a bowtie on the air. The Rays left Florida wearing bowties and, in some cases, plaid shirts with suspenders. They also will make a $3,000 contribution - $100 for each bowtie - to the charitable organizations Rosenthal brings attention to each week with his ties. Rosenthal, who will be in Boston for Saturday’s game, told the Tampa Bay Times he was “really flattered’’ by the Rays adopting his look.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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