David Ortiz on deck for Saturday’s game

PHILADELPHIA — David Ortiz said he will be playing first base tomorrow. As for tonight, Bobby Valentine laughed and said that Big Papi is “so available.”

Ortiz is hoping to get a shot at Jonathan Papelbon.

“He can’t get a fastball by me,” Ortiz said.

As to other matters:

• Daisuke Matsuzaka felt good about his outing for Triple A Pawtucket on Thursday night (6.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) because he pitched into the seventh inning and threw 95 pitches.

The report from the Pawtucket staff was that Matsuzaka had better fastball command but still lacked sharp breaking pitches. He gave up a three-run homer on a curveball that missed.


“It was an improvement,” Valentine said.

Matsuzaka will start again for Pawtucket on Tuesday. Then the Red Sox will have to either activate him off the disabled list or figure out another option.

• Will Middlebrooks has returned to this planet after his his Hall of Fame first eight games in the majors. Valentine isn’t particularly concerned.

“I saw two tough pitchers [in Tampa] who were very different throw him tough pitches to hit,” he said. “In Tampa, I thought maybe he had a pitch in eight at-bats he could have advanced forward pretty hard.

“Crashing towards some mean. When you’re so hot you’re going to eventually cool and hit your level.”

Valentine likes that Middlebrooks has stayed with the same approach.

“You’ll hear a lot about making adjustments and all other things that I consider kind of nonsense. The adjustment is know who you are and be who you are,” he said. “Stay there. I think he’s doing that.”

• Aaron Cook threw a three-inning simulated game in the bullpen on Thursday. He’s getting closer to a return. Cook pitched one game before going in the DL with a cut on his left knee.

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