Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched in just eight games in 2011, before missing the rest of the season after having reconstructive elbow surgery. He has been slowly working his way back from that ever since, until he injured his shoulder and neck during a rehab start.
Now Matsuzaka has been cleared to resume throwing and will start for Triple-A Pawtucket this weekend. His new rehab plan will be a 30-day process that will begin on Saturday.
The seven-time Japanese All-Star was sitting around 91 mph during his previous rehab assignments and thanks to the $10 million he’s owed this season the Red Sox plan on using him.
If and when he returns to the team’s starting rotation it is likely that Daniel Bard will move to the bullpen, or they will start Matsuzaka back slowly in a relief role. Either way, Boston is planning to bring him on to the big league roster as soon as he’s ready.
The Red Sox need arms and even if Matsuzaka has been a complete disappointment during his time in Major League Baseball, he can’t be much worse than what Boston is already putting on the mound. The Sox currently rank 28th in the majors with a 4.64 ERA. The only teams boasting worse numbers are the Colorado Rockies (5.12) and Minnesota Twins (5.38).
Opposing batters are hitting .265 off of Boston’s pitching staff (which ranks 25th), they have hit a Major League-worst 24 batters, and have already allowed 49 home runs (25th). The group collectively also carries a WHIP of 1.42 which is tied for the second-worst number in the bigs.
As I said earlier, Matsuzaka has been a complete disappointment since Boston signed him to a six-year, $52 million contract back in 2006. He carries a career record of 49-30 in 106 games (105 starts), but has an ERA of 4.25 and an incredibly high WHIP of 1.40.
In 2007 Matsuzaka had his best season, going 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA. But in the following three seasons his record was just 16-15, with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. Those are horrendous numbers.
That said, the Red Sox would seem to welcome anyone who can pitch back to the team. Even if that guy has been awful the past few seasons.