Red Sox

Valentine: Matsuzaka won't be ready after Pawtucket starts

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Valentine: Matsuzaka won't be ready after Pawtucket starts

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Daisuke Matsuzaka has two more starts scheduled as part of his current 30-day rehab stint, but according to manager Bobby Valentine, Matsuzaka doesn't appear that he'll be ready to join the big league team when those starts are completed.

Matsuzaka underwent Tommy John surgery last summer and continues to work on his delivery. He's scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket Thursday and again on May 22.

"I don't think he's all that close to pitching in the major league," said Valentine. "Not until he's ready. It's not the calendar that's going to dictate whether or not a guy pitches in the major leagues."

The Sox have the option of putting Matsuzaka back on the disabled list and then beginning a new rehab assignment if they don't feel he's ready to compete in the big leagues.

"You can't say, 'Hey, the 30-day clock is done,' now the guy has to get into a major league game and get whacked," said Valentine. "That doesn't sound right to me."

Valentine, who speaks Japanese from his time spent managing in Japan, has had several discussions with Matsuzaka and gets the sense that the pitcher is still working on how to best master his mechanics in the wake of his surgery.

"There's a lot of things that you do before you're totally ready," Valentine said. "I'm not sure he's put his elbow situation behind him yet. I don't think he totally understands where he is with his elbow, which is very important.

"It's not necessarily (being) tentative with the elbow. It's understanding why (the injury) happened, what he did to pitch while it was hurt and that mechanic and whether or not that mechanic is something he should be using now. Or should he go back to the mechanic he was using when he hurt (the elbow)?

"It's a very confusing state. Until he figures that out -- totally in his mind -- I think competition is going to be confused. We want him to be here and not only healthy, but be able to be in competition."

In a recent outing, Matsuzaka's fastball topped out at 91 mph, but that was because he's experimenting with different deliveries.

"I think he can throw harder," said Valentine. "And he has. A couple of early starts, he was throwing hard. But the last start, his velocity wasn't there because he spent a lot of time with this dilemma, which (throwing) mechanic (to use), just trying to figure it out."

Valentine said the process is not unlike what reliever Rich Hill went through when he had the same surgery last June.

"Pitchers come to that place at different times," said Valentine.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday. 

 

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.

The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.

Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:

"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."

After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.