Daisuke Matsuzaka to start Saturday

Updated: June 6, 2012, 10:23 PM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to start Saturday for the Boston Red Sox against the Washington Nationals, one day short of a year since he underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his right elbow.

Manager Bobby Valentine made the announcement before Wednesday's game against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.

"[Matsuzaka] was in today,'' Valentine said. "He feels fine. Unless something changes, we'll try to activate him and pitch him on Saturday. Obviously, he won't be activated until then.''

Matsuzaka made his eighth rehab start -- sixth for Pawtucket -- on Tuesday night, pitching 1 1/3 innings and throwing 50 pitches in what was intended to be an abbreviated tuneup for Saturday's game. He touched 94 mph and said afterward that he probably was guilty of overthrowing in a 31-pitch first inning, knowing it was a short outing.

He had an 0-2 record and 3.37 ERA (11 earned runs in 29 1/3 innings) in his six rehab starts for Pawtucket. His last start in the major leagues came on May 16, 2011, when he allowed five hits and walked seven in 4 1/3 innings against Baltimore. Overall, he had a 3-3 record and 5.30 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts) for the Sox last season.

Matsuzaka takes the place of Daniel Bard, who was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. Bard was here Wednesday and threw a bullpen, which would have been customary for him to do on his third day after his most recent start -- Sunday in Toronto. Valentine said that Bard met with GM Ben Cherington and a plan has been mapped out for the pitcher, but offered no details.

Matsuzaka underwent surgery on his elbow June 10, 2011.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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