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PHILADELPHIA -- After dropping a number of hints that Daisuke Matsuzaka might need more time before coming back from Tommy John surgery, Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine announced after Sunday's game that the Japanese right-hander had received an injection for a strained right trapezius muscle and would not make his last rehab start.
The start had been scheduled for Tuesday.
The Red Sox have recalled Matsuzaka from his rehab assignment, and he remains on the 15-day disabled list. But he cannot begin a new rehab assignment until seven days after he was "returned from rehab," which the Red Sox did on Saturday.
Major League Baseball must approve any new rehab assignment, which is expected to be a formality, given the injury. As with any rehab assignment, Matsuzaka must give his approval, another expected formality.
The trapezius muscle is in the upper back and makes it possible to move your neck, shoulder and back.
Matsuzaka made no mention of discomfort following his last start Thursday night for Triple-A Pawtucket, in which he gave up five runs in 6 2/3 innings to Durham.
"I feel fine right now," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Jeff Cutler. "Nothing awkward. No pain. I feel good."
Matsuzaka said in his previous start, he had experimented with his arm angle and delivery. That was not the case Thursday night, he said.
"Yesterday I was able to figure out my mechanics to a point where I felt very comfortable out there," he said. "I'm in a really good place right now.
"During (Thursday's) start I felt very confident out there. I felt I was able to grasp something I was missing in previous starts. I definitely am feeling closer to making it back to the majors."
But there were indications that Matsuzaka still had some work to do before being ready to pitch after undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery last June 10. Customarily, it takes a year to 15 months to recover from the surgery.
While Matsuzaka has appeared to be ahead of schedule for much of his rehab this spring, his velocity averaged around 91 in his last start, according to one observer, and he showed a lack of confidence in both his changeup and curveball.
Valentine has been sending precautionary notes throughout the process.
"I still haven't wrapped my head around that whole thing," he said on Friday. "I really dislike calendars dictating when good health has returned."
On Sunday, he revealed that Matsuzaka had undergone an injection to reduce inflammation.
"That's been nagging him for quite a while," Valentine said Sunday. "We've got to make sure that's 100 percent before he goes out there again.
"I think he'll be with us (in Baltimore). We'll monitor how that works in the next few days. He said maybe he could pitch through it, but they (the medical staff) didn't think it was wise."