BOSTON -- Another night, another starting pitcher heading to the disabled list. A day after John Lackey was shut down with a right elbow strain, right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka is Boston's latest rotation member headed to the 15-day DL.
Matsuzaka underwent an MRI on Tuesday, and the diagnosis is that he has a sprained right elbow. Because Tuesday night's game was rained out, Boston will officially place Matsuzaka on the DL prior to Wednesday's game. To replace Matsuzaka on the roster, the Red Sox have summoned right-hander Michael Bowden from Triple-A Pawtucket.
On Wednesday, Red Sox medical director Dr. Tom Gill issued a statement:
"Daisuke experienced tightness in his elbow during his last start. His examination is consistent with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, and strain to his common flexor mass. An MRI was obtained which confirmed these exam findings. He will be re-examined in two weeks."
The news came one day after Matsuzaka was shaky in Monday night's no-decision against the Orioles, walking seven and allowing five hits and five runs over 4 1/3 innings.
Bowden will work out of the bullpen. Alfredo Aceves and Tim Wakefield, who are starting on Saturday and Sunday respectively against the Cubs, will fill the two rotation spots.
As for Matsuzaka, he has been hesitant to use his fastball of late, perhaps a sign that he didn't have confidence in his health.
Dice-K is 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA this season. He was removed from his April 29 start against the Mariners with elbow tightness.
"It's hard to imagine it's not [related]," manager Terry Francona said. "But those are some of the same questions we tried to ask. Certainly you want to find out and learn, but we really just don't know. I don't think Daisuke knows. The reason we kind of did this, I think I said last night, he was guarded. Does he have pain? I don't think he really did, but I think he was guarded because he thought he might have pain. We figured we better check. I'm glad we did."
While the Red Sox have played well of late, winning four in a row, Francona was trying to take the positive out of two of his starting pitchers being shut down within two days.
"It doesn't change anything in our view," Francona said. "We're going to get Lack healthy and get him back out there as quick as we can. We're going to do the same thing with Daisuke. Until we do, we're going to try to win with somebody else. That's the way we always feel."