Daisuke Matsuzaka exits early

Updated: July 3, 2012, 3:20 AM ET
By Jimmy Durkin | Special to ESPNBoston.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Boston Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, who recorded just three outs in Monday's loss to the Oakland Athletics, said he experienced tightness in his neck leading up to the start, and he might wind up on the disabled list.

Matsuzaka yielded two home runs and faced only nine opposing batters before getting the hook in a 6-1 loss to the A's.

"Daisuke obviously didn't have his good stuff tonight," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "He went out with a crink in his neck, and we were hoping he was going to work through it."

Matsuzaka said the tightness is in the same location that caused issues during spring training and flared up again in May while he was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

"Leading up to this start, my neck tightened up a little bit and I ended up not being able to throw a bullpen," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "I focused on getting myself in condition to be able to pitch tonight and I went out there, but I ended up not being able to get my arm through."

Valentine said the timing with next week's All-Star break could result in a trip to the disabled list for Matsuzaka.

"I just spoke to Bobby about what needs to be done and I think a decision will be made sooner than later," Matsuzaka said.

Valentine said the Red Sox have known about the issue for several days but thought it was under control enough for Matsuzaka to pitch. The team didn't have a plan in place to scratch the right-hander.

"A couple of days ago, it was stiff but it seemed like he worked through it," Valentine said. "He said he was going to be all right to pitch. We asked him pretty consistently."

Matsuzaka (0-3) was tagged for five earned runs on four hits and two walks in one-plus inning, matching the shortest start of his career. It was the third time he lasted just one inning, the most recent also coming in Oakland in April 2009.

The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and Matsuzaka retired the first two batters in the bottom of the frame. But former Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick blasted the first pitch he saw into the right-field stands for a game-tying home run.

"My body wasn't in the condition it probably should have been," Matsuzaka said. "Despite the home run in the first inning, I got out of that inning and I thought I'd be able to fight through a few more innings."

The second inning went downhill quickly. Seth Smith led off with a double, and rookie catcher Derek Norriswalked. Another former teammate of Matsuzaka's, Brandon Moss, crushed a first-pitch fastball for a home run.

"They got the three-run homer, and that's all they needed," Valentine said.

Matsuzaka allowed a single to Brandon Inge, bringing Valentine to the mound for a chat. When Cliff Pennington walked on four pitches, Valentine returned to the mound to make the pitching change.

"I went out there and asked (Matsuzaka) if he could get through it, and he said, 'Yeah,'" Valentine said. "Obviously it didn't look good."

The Red Sox currently have 10 players on the DL, and 19 of their players have totaled 21 DL stints overall this season.

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