Now it's up to the Boston Red Sox to determine whether Daisuke Matsuzaka is ready for the American League. But Matsuzaka definitely is too much for the International League. Matsuzaka convincingly overwhelmed the Buffalo Bisons on Thursday in a rehab start for Pawtucket, hurling six shutout innings to run his Triple-A scoreless streak to 11 innings. Making his second rehab start, Matsuzaka scattered three hits and struck out two without issuing a walk.
The Boston right-hander has been on the disabled list since April 3 with a neck strain. He becomes eligible to be activated on Sunday. In his first outing with Pawtucket, Matsuzaka blanked Rochester on two hits for five innings on Saturday. In that start, Matsuzaka made 73 pitches, 43 for strikes. He was even sharper Thursday, throwing 57 strikes among his 86 pitches. Buffalo catcher Josh Thole engaged Matsuzaka in a 12-pitch battle before flying out to center to end the third inning -- then Matsuzaka compensated for that pitch drain by needing only 13 pitches to breeze through the next two innings. Despite letting only three Buffalo runners reach base, Matsuzaka did have to work his way out of a couple of jams, following leadoff doubles in the first by Jason Pridie and in the fifth by Chris Carter. Matsuzaka went on the DL at the start of the season after being able to work only six innings in two Grapefruit League appearances for the Red Sox.