BALTIMORE -- Though Daisuke Matsuzaka told reporters following his rehab start on Wednesday that he felt he was ready to rejoin the Red Sox, the club has decided to give him at least one more outing at Triple-A Pawtucket.

For most of Dice-K's start on Wednesday, he was dominant. But the right-hander faltered in the fifth inning, allowing seven straight batters to reach base.

"I'm very encouraged from what I heard. I didn't see it," said manager Bobby Valentine. "[Pawtucket manager] Arnie [Beyeler] and [pitching coach] Rich [Sauveur] thought it was his best command, his best stuff, that he's had in a while. We'll take it to that next step and we'll know what we have."

Look for Matsuzaka, who has been sidelined with a neck injury, to make his next start for Pawtucket on Monday.

Ellsbury rests legs, starts at designated hitter

BALTIMORE -- In an effort to keep Jacoby Ellsbury off his legs for a night, manager Bobby Valentine had his leadoff hitter serve as the designated hitter for Thursday night's game against the Orioles.

Ellsbury, according to manager Bobby Valentine, has been nursing a nagging leg injury in recent weeks.

"The last couple of days we've just been concerned about a little leg situation," said Valentine. "This is just being over-cautious and aware of the situation. And he's fine. I said, 'Do you want a day off?' And he said, 'Absolutely no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, 100 times no. I want to play. I want to play.' So he's DH-ing."

Ellsbury downplayed whatever might be bothering him.

"It's in good shape," said Ellsbury. "I've been playing the last couple of days and it's felt good."

Entering Thursday's game, Ellsbury was hitting .270 with a homer and 11 RBIs, stats that paled in comparison to his near-MVP campaign of last season.

"I'm really glad that he's back," Valentine said. "His presence is very important on a team, and his production. Again, I'm very satisfied with what he's doing. I think you guys have vision of what he did last year and how excellent he was in every facet of every minute of the game. He's not quite there yet. He's plenty good for me."

Worth noting

• After staying off his feet for a few days nursing a right Achilles strain, David Ortiz hopes to resume batting practice prior to Friday night's game at Yankee Stadium. The earliest he could probably play is next week, when the Red Sox open a homestand on Tuesday against the Angels.

• Daniel Nava, who has been out since July 29 with a left wrist sprain, has started taking batting practice the last couple of days and could be close to a Minor League rehab assignment.

• The Red Sox announced that there will be public visiting hours for the late Johnny Pesky on Sunday at the Solimine, Landergan and Richardson Funeral Home (67 Ocean Street, Route 1A, Lynn, Mass.) from 2 to 8 p.m. ET. The club will have a ceremony for Pesky prior to the opener Tuesday's game.