Matsuzaka may be shut down
At long last, the Red Sox may have seen enough of Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Manager Bobby Valentine said Sunday that the organization is considering taking Matsuzaka out of the rotation and replacing him with Alfredo Aceves.
Matsuzaka couldn’t get out of the second inning against the Blue Jays Saturday night, giving up five runs. It was the third time in his last four starts that the righthander was unable to complete four innings.
Matsuzaka is 1-5 with a 7.20 earned run average and will be a free agent after the season. With the Red Sox almost certain not to bring Matsuzaka back, keeping him in the rotation serves little purpose.
“I’m not sure,” Valentine said when asked if Matsuzaka would make his next start. “Going to see. Have some meetings here with him, too. He was very disappointed yesterday. So was I.”
Aceves pitched 2⅔ innings of scoreless relief Saturday night. Since losing his job as the closer, Aceves has pitched 10 innings over five appearances and allowed three earned runs. The aim was to build him up for a possible start and now the opportunity is there to give him a chance.
Aceves has started nine games in his career, four last season. He worked effectively as a starter in spring training but ended up in the bullpen. Aceves long has said he wants an opportunity to start.
The Sox hailed Matsuzaka as the best pitcher on the planet when he arrived from Japan amidst great fanfare before the 2007 season at a cost of $103 million. Matsuzaka was 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA over 61 starts in his first two seasons, helping the Sox to the 2007 World Series title.
He is 17-20 with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 52 starts since. Matsuzaka has been on the disabled list eight times in the last five seasons.
Felix Doubront is tentatively scheduled to start against the Yankees Thursday, although the Sox want to see how he looks in a bullpen session Monday first.
Doubront is 0-3 with a 9.70 ERA in his last five starts. Since coming off the disabled list Aug. 25, Doubront has lasted only 12 innings in three starts and allowed 14 earned runs.
Doubront appears worn down as he nears the end of his first full season as a starter in the majors. But he has told the Sox that his issues are more related to his confidence, not his physical state.
“He feels really good. He says he feels healthy,” Valentine said. “He thinks he can finish strong. If Felix is healthy, he’ll go back out there.”
The Sox have Jon Lester and Aaron Cook scheduled for the first two games against the Yankees. New York’s rotation will be Hiroki Kuroda, David Phelps, and Phil Hughes, although Ivan Nova could replace Phelps.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who left Friday’s game with back spasms, sat out his second straight game. With the team off Monday, the hope is that three days off will allow him to play Tuesday . . . Lefthander Franklin Morales, who has been on the disabled since Aug. 24 with a sore shoulder, has been shut down and will be getting further tests. Morales has told trainers that he doesn’t feel as strong as he usually does . . . Outfielder Daniel Nava was activated off the disabled list. He has played only two games since July 28 because of a ganglion cyst in his left wrist that could require surgery after the season. Nava pinch hit for Ryan Kalish in the ninth inning and grounded to shortstop . . . Righthanded reliever Scott Atchison has rejoined the team but can’t be activated until Wednesday when his time on the 60-day disabled list will be up. Atchison has been out with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow but made two successful rehab appearances for Triple A Pawtucket, throwing 2⅓ scoreless innings.
Toronto infielder Omar Vizquel played his final game at Fenway Park, going 0 for 2 with two sacrifice flies. The 24-year veteran is a sure bet to make the Hall of Fame after winning 11 Gold Gloves at shortstop and hitting .272.
Vizquel has 2,870 hits and has scored 1,443 runs in his career. He played 87 games at Fenway in his career.
“A lot of great memories in this place, a lot of playoffs,” Vizquel said. “I remember when I was with the Cleveland Indians how great the games were and the most special moment was when I was an All-Star [in 1999] and Ted Williams was on the mound and all the players gathered around him and it was a very emotional moment for me.
“Boston has a lot of history about the game and a lot of great players have played in this park and it was a special moment for me to be here, too.”
Lester will host a youth clinic for patients from Boston Children’s Hospital, the Jimmy Fund and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children Monday afternoon at Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Field . . . Will Middlebrooks turned 24 Sunday . . . The Jays were 7-2 against the Sox at Fenway this season. Toronto is 10-5 against the Sox overall and has won six straight.