Encouraging signs in Dice-K's rehab

BOSTON -- The reports that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine received on pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka continue to be encouraging.

The rehabbing right-hander worked five scoreless innings and allowed only one hit for Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox Saturday night against the ToledoMud Hens. He will make another rehab start for the PawSox later in the week, but that day will be decided once all the particulars are figured out, according to Valentine.

"He had much better command of it and he felt good during and after the performance," Valentine said. "He didn't hold runners very well but he wasn't concerned with the runners because he wanted to get through the throwing part of it. He did OK."

It's been nearly one year (June 10) since Matsuzaka had Tommy John surgery. Matsuzaka has not been happy with his mechanics during his minor league rehab stint, but now that he's made more than a handful of starts, he's becoming more comfortable.

"They said it was much better and that's why he was able to command the ball so much better," Valentine said. "[PawSox pitching coach] Rich [Sauveur] said he was much better. His velocity was only up to 92, which is pretty good."

Matsuzaka was recalled from his first rehab assignment on May 19 and remained sidelined for seven days with a strained right trapezius muscle before Saturday's start. His first assignment was set to expire on May 23, but the 30-day window begins again since he was injured again prior to that date.

The Red Sox are taking his situation slow and there's no timetable when he'll return.

"It's going to be a situation where we'll evaluate it case by case," Valentine said.

Meanwhile, Red Sox outfielder Ryan Sweeney (concussion) received medical clearance to participate in all baseball activities and will run, hit and throw today in hopes of being activated on Monday.