Royals-Red Sox preview
(AP) — Already with a depleted roster following their blockbuster trade over the weekend, the Boston Red Sox also may not have David Ortiz in the lineup for the rest of the season.
They will, however, have Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound for the first time in nearly two months Monday as they finish a four-game set against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.
The team is discussing putting Ortiz back on the disabled list after he aggravated an Achilles strain Friday in his only game following more than a month on the DL.
The 36-year-old designated hitter, hitting .318 with a team-leading 23 homers, sat out Saturday and Sunday and may be shut down again Monday.
“It’s likely that if he doesn’t have a miraculous recovery (Sunday night), we’ll have a DL situation (Monday),” manager Bobby Valentine said. “I know David wants to be with the team and he wants to do what he’s done all year, and that’s to be a major contributor.”
Boston (61-67) has already moved on without Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto following Saturday’s megadeal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which unloaded more than $250 million worth of salary obligations.
The club won’t have to pay Matsuzaka much longer, but it will try to get a few more starts out of the right-hander in Beckett’s rotation spot before his contract expires at the end of the season.
The Red Sox forked over a total of $103 million for the Japanese right-hander – about half in a posting fee and the other half in a six-year, $52 million deal – in a move that ended up a major disappointment.
Matsuzaka (0-3, 6.65 ERA) has battled injuries and inconsistency throughout his time with Boston, walking 4.3 per nine innings. He’s made only five starts in the majors this year following Tommy John surgery and none since July 2, when he allowed five runs and was removed before recording an out in the second inning at Oakland.
After that, he went on the DL again with a neck injury. He has appeared stronger for Triple-A Pawtucket lately, allowing one hit in seven scoreless innings Tuesday against Rochester.
The Royals (56-70) have waited out his wildness the past. In two career home starts in the series, Matsuzaka has walked 14 in 10 1-3 innings, including eight in a 4-3 loss May 27, 2010, the last time he faced Kansas City.
Counterpart Luke Hochevar (7-11, 4.95) has had a different problem versus the Red Sox, who are hitting .307 against him in six career matchups. The right-hander is 2-4 with a 6.56 ERA in those games.
Hochevar, though, is coming off one of the most impressive outings of his career. He allowed one hit in eight innings of the Royals’ 1-0, 10-inning win at Tampa Bay on Tuesday, striking out a season-high 10 in a duel with David Price.
“I felt like tonight was probably the best command that I’ve had all year with my fastball,” Hochevar said.
Royals pitchers have allowed the Red Sox to hit .370 while scoring 21 runs in the first three games of this series. Kansas City rallied from a six-run deficit for a 10-9, 12-inning win Saturday, but it squandered a two-run advantage in Sunday’s 8-6 loss.
James Loney had a game-tying RBI single in his Red Sox debut after coming over from the Dodgers.
“I’m glad I’m here. It’s one of the best atmospheres in baseball,” Loney said. “It felt good getting that opportunity, having a chance to deliver. I just want to keep that up.”