-- Bartolo Colon (oblique), who threw 19 pitches in an extended spring game and then another 16 pitches in the bullpen on Monday, reported to the Sox today. He'll throw another side session in a day or so with the Sox and then will be sent out for his rehab assignment to Pawtucket.
-- Manager Terry Francona will be managing the All-Star Game in New York on July 14, his second such assignment, thanks to Boston's American League pennants in 2004 and 2007. While it's too early to talk about specific players and how the process of picking players will play out this year, Francona said he's trying to find a way to get all of his coaching staff, including strength and conditioning coach David Page and performance enhancement coach Don Kalkstein, to the game in official capacities as a reward for their efforts to the team's success.
-- Julian Tavarez is the forgotten man in the Red Sox bullpen. He hasn't pitched in 11 days, since a one-inning outing at home against the Angels on April 24. He has been mentioned in Colorado as a reliever the Rockies might be interested in. Francona said today he needs to get him in a game soon. The manager was referring to scraping the rust off the right-hander's arm, but if the Sox are looking to move him, Tavarez would need to pitch to show other teams what he can do.
In preparation for his rehab assignment in Pawtucket, which will begin Wednesday night, Alex Cora went through a workout early today at Comerica Park.
The reason for his early workout was that he had secured some tickets for tonight's Celts-Cavaliers playoff game in Boston.
Manager Terry Francona was not the least bit upset that Cora flew home early today and was not with the club for tonight's game against the Tigers. In fact, Francona, a big fan of the Celtics and coach Doc Rivers, said he encouraged the utility infielder to go.
"I told him he was crazy not to take off (early)," said Francona with a smile this afternoon. "He goes with my blessing. The only thing I'm mad about is I'm not with him (at the game)."
Alex Cora (sore right elbow) and Sean Casey (hip strain) will be heading to Pawtucket this week for what they hope will be brief rehab assignments.
Cora is expected to join the PawSox for games Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Casey will be reporting in time for games Thursday and Friday.
The plan for Cora is to have him play a position, either second or short, Wednesday night, serve as the designated hitter for Thursday's 12:05 game and then play a position, either second or short, in Friday night's game.
Casey, meanwhile, will start at first base for the day game on Thursday and serve as the designated hitter Friday night.
Click the play button below to hear Sean's comments, recorded this morning. Today's topics: Daisuke Matsuzaka's inability to control his pitches, Craig Hansen's inability so far to seize the opportunity handed to him, Mike Lowell's first RBIs of the season, and the inconsistency of the Detroit Tigers.
Curt Schilling made 25 tosses from a distance of 60 feet from 1:43 to 1:49 this afternoon at Comerica Park, the first time he has thrown a baseball this spring as he continues to rehabilitate his right shoulder.
The session went well. He will repeat the workout on Thursday.
"He did good. I don't think anybody was expecting him to not feel okay or we wouldn't have sent him out there," said manager Terry Francona.
"It's a good step for him. I'm sure he's excited. I think his throwing will help rejuvenate him for the things he has to do," said Francona, referring to the monotonous nature of the rehabilitation to get to the point to where he could play catch.
The plan is for him to keep playing catch until the medical staff thinks he's ready to progress to a more aggressive throwing program from longer distances.
Schilling was not around to talk about his workout.
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: The numbers -- or at least most of them -- scream "ace." Record: 5-0, the second-highest number of wins in the league. ERA: 2.43, fourth-best in league. Batting average allowed: .158, second-best in the league. (All this, incidentally, is courtesy of the invaluable Projo Stats.) Daisuke Matsuzaka (above), by most measurable accounts, should be considered one of the best pitchers in the American League, indeed in all baseball.
Except . . .
Steven Krasner, writing the story of last night's 6-3 Red Sox win over the Tigers, lays out the case against Matsuzaka in eight simple words: Ball one. Ball two. Ball three. Ball four. He does not throw strikes, at least not with any consistency, and too many games resemble the water-dripping-on-the-forehead torturefest of last evening. By the time Terry Francona took us all out of our misery and lifted him after five excruciating innings, Matsuzaka had taken nearly two hours to throw 109 pitches, walk eight batters, and escape disaster through a combination of his admittedly superior skills (he allowed only one hit in those five innings), clutch pitching (a two-on, one-out strikeout of the sublime Magglio Ordonez in the fourth), and some luck (hard-hit balls that were caught, such as the two-out, two-on liner snared by J.D. Drew for the final out in the fifth, preserving a 4-1 lead). His performance was put into some historical perspective by Chuck Waseleski via the Boston Globe's Extra Bases blog.
Francona, noting that Matsuzaka was still suffering the aftereffects of last week's bout with the flu, chose the glass-is-half-full approach -- as he nearly always does -- in his postgame comments, lauding Matsuzaka's heart and competitive spirit. (Maybe Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press captured that dichotomy perfectly when he noted that, through three innings, Matsuzaka was on pace "for the never-seen 210-pitch no-hitter.") In the Boston Herald, Rob Bradford pointed out that while Matsuzaka often pitched like this last season, this time around he's winning these games.
Baseball -- especially professional baseball -- is a bottom-line business, and there's more than something to be said for someone who wins mosts of his starts, style points be damned. The problem, as articulated by Baseball Musings' David Pinto, is that Matsuzaka is a strange hybrid "of being wild, but at the same time very tough to hit." The troubling question: At what point will it become more important that he's wild than it is that he's tough to hit?
NEVER MIND: Remember when news of Curt Schilling's arm woes first surfaced in February? And how his personal physician, Dr. Craig Morgan, stated that "the percentage of [Schilling] being able to pitch effectively [without undergoing Morgan-recommended surgery] is probably between zero and five percent"? And the whispers that Schilling, while never saying so publicly, agreed with Morgan and was angry with the Red Sox for forcing him to undergo more conservative treatment? Well, Schilling is about ready to start throwing again and now he's saying the Red Sox were right all along. (Boston Globe)
BEEN THERE: The Sox will miss the struggling Jason Verlander in this series, and ex-Tiger Jack Morris, now working part-time as a Twins broadcaster, says he knows why Verlander is struggling: "His shoulder. There's something wrong with his shoulder." (Detroit News) Morris had bursitis in his own shoulder and thinks Verlander, based on the way he's throwing, is suffering from the same pain.
REUNITED: The paths of Joe Torre and Willie Randolph, who spent so many years together in the Yankee dugout, are passing again this week at Dodger Stadium. Yahoo.com's Tim Brown reports that they're in different places . . . and not just geographically. Speaking of geography, things have gotten so bad at Shea Stadium -- Mets fans can't get past last September -- that Randolph says the team prefers to be on the road. (New York Post)
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU GOT 'TIL IT'S GONE: The New York Observer's Howard Megdal says current Mets whipping boy Oliver Perez is a lot more valuable than he's being credit for and his "loss would be staggering" if the teams allows him to hit free agency.
TONED DOWN: Ozzie Guillen was less profane, but no less passionate, as he pleaded with White Sox fans to be patient with his team. (Chicago Tribune)
NEVER ENDS, DOES IT? But just as the controversy over Guillen's foul-mouthed tirade had subsided, word comes that the White Sox were doing nasty things to some blowup dolls in their Toronto clubhouse Sunday in a light-hearted attempt to break their slump. For this, Guillen offers no apologies. "One hundred percent of the people in the clubhouse are 18 years old, and that's a private thing," he told the Chicago Sun Times. "If the players do it in the dugout where everyone can see or in the hotel lobby -- we did it in our clubhouse, and a lot of things happen in the clubhouse."