The Boston Red Sox placed Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15 Day-DL, Sunday, June 21. Dice-K is listed for right shoulder fatigue and could possibly spend up to two months on the DL. Yahoo! Sports spoke with Red Sox pitching Coach John Farrell who said:
Every intention will be to get him back this year. Now, I say that with no end time frame that says on August 1, he's going to be back in our rotation. There are going to be objectives that he's going to have to meet along the way here both in terms of strength and conditioning, both from a body standpoint and from a shoulder standpoint.
Daisuke has been struggling the entire 2009 season with a 1-5 record in eight starts. In those eight starts, Matsuzaka has pitched a total of 35 innings with his longest start going 5 and 2/3 allowing 5 earned runs in a 6-3 loss to the Texas Rangers on June 7. Allowing 32 total earned runs on the season with an ERA of 8.23 and a WHIP of 2.20, Dice-K has been disappointing to watch, to say the least.
Daisuke was named the MVP after winning consecutive championships for Japan in this years World Baseball Classic. Matsuzaka started and won all three games he pitched in during the 2009 Classic with a 2.45 ERA. After achieving his second WBC MVP, Dice-K seemed a bit shocked about the nomination according to Rhett Bollinger.
I'm really thankful about the MVP. I didn't think that it was going to be me at all. I felt that I was lucky, and I felt that it couldn't be compared to Mr. [Hisashi] Iwakuma, who pitched today. So I felt that Iwakuma would get the MVP myself.
The modest Matsuzaka gave credit where it was due after winning his second MVP, but also had a noticeable decrease in his won numbers compared to his 2006 reign where he posted a 3-0 record and a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings. After his initial WBC championship, Dice-K signed with Boston in 2007 going 15-12 with a 4.40 ERA. Followed in 2008, where he did not pitch in the World Baseball Classic, going 18-3 with an ERA of 2.90.
By skipping out on spring training to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, Daisuke wasn't able to properly prepare himself for an entire major league baseball season. Matsuzaka's yearly statistics show that he pitched extremely effectively in 2008 when he did not pitch in the WBC and attended Red Sox spring training prior to the season opener.
The Dice-Man Goethe
After paying $51.11 million just to negotiate with Matsuzaka along with his six year, $52 million deal, Dice-K has now been placed on the DL for the second time with a similar shoulder soreness injury due to struggling numbers during the season. With Daisuke on the DL, John Smoltz has been called up from Pawtucket to pitch tonight against the Washington Nationals. This will be Smoltz first major league start since signing with Boston at the beginning of this season.
The Boston Red Sox have the most depth for pitching down in their minor league systems and can also utilize Clay Buccholz if necessary based on the outcome with Matsuzaka. Terry Francona told the Associated Press, "As far as the rotation, that's not something I've ever been shook up about. I've never been bothered by having too much pitching."
We'll see how things play out as time goes by and Dice-K makes his way back into the rotation, keeping you updated on any schedule that the Red Sox develop for Matsuzaka and the ongoings of his stint on the DL and progressions. The expectation for a time assignment as of now is as long as it takes, hopefully the amount of time isn't the issue and the strengthening that needs to happen does and Dice-K returns to form by October when it matters.