Red Sox Place Pitchers Matsuzaka, Hill On DL
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will undergo season-ending reconstructive surgery on his right elbow, probably next week.
Boston manager Terry Francona made the expected announcement after the Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 8-6 on Friday night. The team transferred the right-hander from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
The Red Sox have also lost lefty reliever Rich Hill, likely for the season. Both pitchers have ligament tears in their pitching elbows. Hill is likely to also have Tommy John surgery, as is planned for Matsuzaka.
The operation usually sidelines a pitcher for at least 12 months. Boston placed Hill on the 15-day disabled list and called up lefty Tommy Hottovy from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Matsuzaka signed a six-year, $52 million contract with the Red Sox in December 2006 after his brilliant career in Japan. Boston also had to pay $51.1 million to the Seibu Lions for the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka, who is signed through next season.
The investment has produced disappointing returns.
Matsuzaka's best season came in 2007, when he was 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA and finished fourth in voting for the AL Cy Young Award.
But after going 31-15 with a 3.72 ERA in his first two seasons, Matsuzaka was 16-15 with a 5.03 ERA the past three years when he had four stints on the disabled list. In eight appearances this year, including seven starts, he is 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA. In his career with Boston, he is 49-30 with a 4.25 ERA.
He did have two of his best outings in his career in consecutive starts, allowing one hit in seven scoreless innings on April 18 against Toronto and one hit in eight scoreless innings on April 23 at the Angels. But in four appearances since then, he allowed 12 earned runs and 16 hits in 15 1-3 innings.
Francona said team officials met at length with Matsuzaka on Thursday. After the game, he said renowned orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum, who met with Matsuzaka this week, will perform the surgery. Yocum is the medical director of the Los Angeles Angels.
"If (Matsuzaka) is prepared to go that (surgical) route, we support that," Francona said before the game. "You never run and have the surgery right away. A lot of guys pitch when they're not feeling right. That's why you get second opinions."
Before Friday's game, Matsuzaka played soft toss in the outfield.
"I think he's going to take this upon himself and kind of attack the rehab when it comes," Francona said.
Hill, 31, plans to get a second opinion on his injury next week. He had become a key contributor for Boston after starting the season in Pawtucket.
He pitched eight scoreless innings over nine games since being recalled. On Monday night he faced just one batter, walking Adam Dunn on seven pitches. After the last pitch, Hill grabbed the area near his left arm and left the game.
"It was really (hurt) on that pitch," he said. "You could feel the ball coming off my fingers and it was just numb. At first, I was just optimistic, thinking that it was just scar tissue that had broken up."
But, he said, an MRI showed the ligament "was like three-quarters torn."
Asked if team physician Dr. Thomas Gill had recommended surgery, Hill said, "With the ligament torn three-quarters of the way and to be able to pitch again at this level it's going to have to be something that's highly recommended."
Francona said surgery is "probably inevitable."
Hottovy, 29, is in the majors for the first time after being drafted by Boston in the fourth round in 2004.
He entered Friday's game with two outs and a runner on second in the sixth inning and got David DeJesus, the only batter he faced, to ground out.
This program aired on June 4, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.