© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

05/10/09 9:31 PM ET

Dice-K tosses four shutout innings

Red Sox righty works in, out of jams in second rehab start

BOSTON -- Long before the Red Sox even took the field on Sunday night against the Rays, rehabbing right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka had already gotten his work in for Triple-A Pawtucket in an afternoon game played at Columbus, Ohio.

Matsuzaka wasn't vintage, but he got what he needed out of the day, pitching four shutout innings and allowing four hits. Dice-K walked two and didn't record a strikeout. He threw 58 pitches, 37 for strikes in his second rehab start.

"In terms of getting into game mentality, I felt I was able to pitch the way I usually do," Matsuzaka told reporters in Columbus. "It's tough when you can't get strikeouts, but in that situation, a double play was a good thing. I felt I hit the spot I needed to."

Matsuzaka, who is recovering from a mild right shoulder strain, will likely make his final rehab start for Pawtucket on Friday in Toledo. He is likely to rejoin the Boston rotation during the homestand that starts on May 19.

"I think he backed himself into one jam, then pitched right out of it," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "No hard contact. Everything seemed pretty positive. No complaints on his part. He had a pretty good day."

Francona said that Matsuzaka will likely ramp up to 75-80 pitches during the outing at Toledo.

"I didn't feel that great, but it gave me some time to work on some things," Matsuzaka said. "When I say I wasn't feeling well, it was not really something physical but more technical. I don't think I have any issues with stamina, but I need to work a little more before I'll be ready to get back [to Boston]."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.