BOSTON (AP) – Struggling Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka
went on the 15-day disabled list Sunday and could be sidelined much
longer.

“This is not going to be a two-week DL,” manager Terry Francona
said. “We have to figure this out. We have a lot of work ahead of us to get him
back to being Daisuke.”

In eight starts, Matsuzaka is 1-5 with an 8.23
ERA and an opponents’ batting average of .378. Last season, he was 18-3 with a
2.90 ERA and a major league-best .211 batting average by opponents.

He
went on the disabled list with a mild right shoulder strain after an MRI on
Saturday showed no structural damage. On Friday night, he allowed six runs in
four-plus innings of an 8-2 loss to Atlanta.

“He’s got some shoulder
weakness,” Francona said before Sunday’s game against the Braves. “I don’t know
that you can give him a week off and say, “Come back and pitch and your
shoulder’s going to be miraculously strong.”‘

Before putting Matsuzaka on
the disabled list for the second time this season, the Red Sox already had
scheduled John Smoltz to pitch in his spot Thursday at Washington. It would be
the first major league outing of the season for Smoltz, who had six rehab starts
after offseason shoulder surgery.

The Red Sox recalled catcher Dusty
Brown from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Matsuzaka’s roster spot.

Dice-K is
in the third season of a six-year, $52 million contract he signed after the Red
Sox paid $51.11 million for the right to negotiate with the Japanese star. This
March he repeated as MVP in the second World Baseball Classic, but missed much
of Boston’s spring training.

“It’s hard,” Francona said. “We never were
really able to get that foundation. And he’s alluded to that, too. We’ve got to
get that figured out because it’s obviously not working.”

After the WBC,
Matsuzaka finished spring training with Boston but went 0-1 with a 12.79 ERA in
two starts before going on the disabled list with a mild right shoulder strain
from April 15 to May 22.

In his first game back, he allowed four runs and
five hits in five innings of a 5-3 loss to the New York Mets.

In his last game, he gave up three hits on the first four
pitches, including Nate McLouth’s homer on the first pitch of the game. He
hasn’t reached the seventh inning in any of his nine starts.

“If I keep
going like this, I have no right to be a part of this rotation,” Matsuzaka said
through a translator after the game.

Francona stayed late at Fenway Park
on Friday, meeting with general manager Theo Epstein and pitching coach John
Farrell. Then Francona met Saturday with Matsuzaka and announced that he would
be removed from the rotation.

“It all started with the WBC,” Francona
said Saturday. “It’s become obvious that his velocity wasn’t what it
was.”

The 27-year-old Brown hit .239 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 47
games with Pawtucket before reaching the majors for the first time Sunday.


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