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5/25/2011: Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Okajima, Daisuke Matsuzaka

by on May.25, 2011 @ 12:59 pm, under MLB

Games from the 24th:

Minnesota Twins 4 - Seattle Mariners 2
Ichiro Suzuki started in right and batted first.  He went 0-for-4: ground out to second, fly out to center, ground out to the pitcher, fly out to center.

Oakland A's  6 - LA Angels 1
Hideki Matsui was the starting DH and is batted fourth.  He went 0-for-4: strikeout swinging, ground out to first, strikeout swinging, ground out to second.

Chicago White Sox 8 - Texas Rangers 6
Yoshinori Tateyama entered the game in the 7th and was replaced after facing three batters: fly out to right, strikeout swinging, single to right.  Final line: 0.2 IP, 3 BF, 9-7 NP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR.

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Hideki Okajima cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket.  Okajima could have declined, but accepted the assignment.  A snip from WEEI:

Red Sox left-hander Hideki Okajima, who was designated for assignment on Friday in order to clear a spot on the 40-man and major league rosters for newly acquired left-hander Franklin Morales, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket. Okajima had the right to elect free agency (and forgo the remainder of his $1.75 million salary for 2011) given his service time, but instead accepted the assignment and will remain in the only organization for whom he's played since coming to Major League Baseball.

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Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to Japan on the 24th, "in part to seek traditional Japanese treatment opinions and remedies for his ailing right elbow."  And from the Projo Sox Blog:

Contrary to a report from SI.com's Jon Heyman, Daisuke Matsuzaka does not need Tommy John surgery. Manager Terry Francona said on Monday that Matsuzaka, currently on the disabled list with a right elbow strain in his ulnar collateral ligament, will receive a second opinion later this month from Dr. Lewis Yocum in California.

Meanwhile, Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan has an interesting take on the situation.  A snip:

With his right elbow pained by a sprained ulnar collateral ligament – the one that when damaged badly enough results in Tommy John surgery, and may yet do so for him – Daisuke sits on the disabled list for the fifth time in two seasons. Among his shoulder, elbow and forearm, he’s faced problems with every part of his arm. The only thing left is his hand, and as many times as he’s raised a figurative middle finger at the organization, it’s a shock he hasn’t hurt that, too.

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Should he need Tommy John, Matsuzaka likely never would wear a Red Sox uniform again. Between the one-year recovery and rehabilitation, and the prospect of a rusty pitcher contributing innings in important 2012 pennant-run games, the Red Sox wouldn’t rush him back.

If Matsuzaka can avoid Tommy John, it’s more of the same. As much as their lack of pitching depth frightens them, the Red Sox also grew frustrated at Matsuzaka giving up seven runs in one start and twirling 15 innings of two-hit, shutout ball in his next pair. That Daisuke whets Boston’s appetite enough where it deals, begrudgingly, with his diva behavior. One source called him “stubborn,” another “pigheaded” and one more, in the most chilling assessment, “lazy.” That source added: “They’re tired of his act.”

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Kenshin Kawakami threw 30 pitches in the bullpen on the 24th.  It was Kawakami's first bullpen since he started feeling pain in his right shoulder (4/17).

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Takashi Saito threw about 20 pitches off flat ground (squatting catcher) on the 24th.  He told reporters he was throwing at about 70-80%.  If Saito is feeling fine after the session, he'll continue with them once every 3-4 days.

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The latest on Tsuyoshi Nishioka...

From Fox Sports North:

Nishioka hasn't played since April 7, and an initial timetable for his return was 4-to-6 weeks. While that window has come and gone, Nishioka is getting closer to making his return with the Twins.

"Nishioka's still doing great," Twins athletic trainer Rick McWane said Tuesday. "He's running the bases. He's going to do some sliding drills on Thursday. If all goes well, which we anticipate it will, he'll start playing in games on Friday."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Nishioka has been doing fielding drills with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor down in Florida. Nishioka played second base during his six games this season, but is expected to play at shortstop in Friday's game.

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"We're going to start him out at shortstop over there, probably mix him in later on the other side," Gardenhire said. "Eventually when we get into playing in real games and all those things … we'll probably use him both places."

2 comments on “5/25/2011: Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Okajima, Daisuke Matsuzaka

  1. muratafan

    Passon (spelling?) REALLY has a beef with Japanese players. He routinely rips on Ichiro (claiming that Ichiro is an extremely selfish player), Johjima, Dice-K. Not sure what his issue is, but I have rarely read anything positive about NPB/Japanese players in his columns.

  2. EJH

    I don’t know Matsuzaka personally, so I do not know what kind of guy he is, but based on watching him in high school and with Seibu (and just a little with Boston) I have never gotten the impression that he is lazy or selfish or the type to “raise a figurative middle finger at the organization”. He just seems to me to be a player that is very talented and tries pretty hard to pitch well. I have a hard time understanding how anyone could develop such a ugly attitude toward Matsuzaka. I can say, though, that I lived in Boston for several years and found that most people there are very fickle, very critical, and often downright hateful, especially toward anyone even a little different from themselves. This might be a bigger part of the explanation for Matsuzaka’s tarnished reputation in the U.S. than anything the man has actually done.

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