It has now been 24 days and after 5 rehab starts in Pawtucket, it is easy to say that Daisuke Matsuzaka is starting to come back into form. To recap the situation: Daisuke spent nearly all of 2011 on the Disabled List due to Tommy John surgery for his left elbow. He is currently on rehab assignment with hopes of returning during the 2012 season. He started his rehab down at High-A Salem back on 4/23 before then moving on up to Double-A Portland. Daisuke was then called up to Triple-A Pawtucket back on 5/7 to begin his 60-day rehab with the Paw Sox.
Since then, Daisuke has continued with his rehab in Pawtucket. The following information below sheds some light on his many starts with the team:
5/7 Rochester Red Wings: ND, 4 2/3 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs (0 earned), 3 BB, 4 K, Opponent Avg: .118, Pitches-Strikes: 87-49. Game Result: 4-0 Victory for Pawtucket
5/12 Columbus Clippers: ND, 5 1/3 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs (5 earned), 1 BB, 5 K, Opponent Avg: .237, Pitches-Strikes: 90-54. Game Result: 7-6 Victory for the Paw Sox
5/17 @Durham Bulls: L, 6 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 0 BB, 3 K, Opponent Avg: .254, Pitches-Strikes 95-64. Game Result: 0-5 Loss for Pawtucket
5/26 Toledo Mud Hens: ND, 5 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs (0 earned), 1 BB, 2 K, Opponent Avg: .215, Pitches-Strikes: 56-38. Game Result: 8-5 Victory for the Paw Sox
5/31 Norfolk Tide: L, 5 1/3 innings, 2 hits 1 run (1 earned), 0 BB, 4 K, Opponent Avg.: .125, Pitches-Strikes: 76-51. Game Result: 0-2 Loss for the Paw Sox.
In total, during his rehab with Pawtucket, Daisuke is 0-2 (3.33) in 5 appearances, has pitched in 27.0 innings, given up 19 hits, 11 runs (10 earned), walked 5 batters, struck out 20 while throwing 404 pitches, 256 for strikes.
Overall, though Daisuke is continuing to go through with his rehab with the Pawtucket Red Sox, he shows no signs of any discomfort in his left elbow. His fastballs are coming in at speeds between 88-92 mph while his off-speed pitches currently however in between 77-83 mph. At times Daisuke tends to run up his pitch count during various innings, getting into difficult situations. But there are points where he shows signs of his old 2008 season form, striking down the side or causing batters to jam up and hit into ground outs.
The question still remains of whether or not Daisuke will be called up to Boston this season. Perhaps after a few more starts or if there are any injuries or problems with the Boston rotation (*cough* *cough* Josh Beckett *cough* *cough*) we will see #18 pitching in the majors. Until then, he will continue to give the Paw Sox rotation a strong push in their rotation.
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