"I haven't talked to [Matsuzaka], and to give a real report it would be after I hear from him," manager Bobby Valentine said Friday. "[Triple-A pitching coach Rich Sauveur] and our report was fastball command was better, got deeper into the game. Breaking stuff was so-so, he threw some curveballs, one of them got hit for a three-run homer. His cutter was a little flat. But it was an improvement."
The right-hander, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, allowed five runs (four earned) in a 5-0 loss to Triple-A Durham. Matsuzaka went 6 2/3 innings, and across all his Minor League starts, has allowed 13 earned runs in 25 1/3 innings (4.62 ERA).
"Yesterday, there was only one pitch that got away, the home run, the three-run homer," Matsuzaka said. "Other than that, I felt really good out there, felt confident out there, so that's the only pitch I would like to take back. Impression-wise, my line doesn't look as good as I felt, but going forward, it's all about the results coming together with how I feel. And with that, I should feel more comfortable out on the mound and it should give the front office more confidence in getting me up here."
Matsuzaka, who let up five runs in 5 1/3 innings in his second-to-last start, also felt he made progress with his motion.
"Yesterday, I was able to figure out my mechanics to a point where I felt very comfortable out there," Matsuzaka said. "I was experimenting a lot during my previous start. I was able to figure out what was good and what's bad. The process for last night was getting rid of all the bad stuff and keeping all the good, and it turned out to be really good. I had a good arm angle. I was able to get my arm through on most of my pitches. I'm at a good place right now."
The Red Sox have a clock to worry about with Matsuzaka, who can't pitch in a Minor League game as part of this current rehab assignment after Tuesday, the day he's next scheduled to start. Valentine indicated that further rehab starts may be possible if Matsuzaka has a physical condition that warranted them.
"If his back is stiff, not quite right or something or the elbow isn't quite good," said Valentine. "Maybe, not sure."
The Sox on Friday were planning out the next steps for Cook, who suffered a left knee laceration in his only start with the team, on May 5 against Baltimore. Valentine indicated Cook may need a bit of time, though.
"I don't have an answer, but there is a plan being discussed," Valentine said. "He threw three innings of a simulated situation yesterday in the bullpen. The one concern we have is that he hasn't done a lot of leg stuff. He hasn't run, nor done a lot of things that pitchers usually do to keep their legs under their bodies. To start pitching five innings or fielding in the fourth inning, covering first, might not be the proper thing right now."