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03/30/10 12:42 PM ET

Tazawa might need elbow surgery

Red Sox prospect meets with Andrews concerning sprain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Red Sox pitching prospect Junichi Tazawa may need surgery, he learned during a visit with renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Alabama on Monday.

"I'm not sure," Tazawa said Tuesday when asked about the prospect of surgery on his right elbow. "That's all going to be part of the discussion."

Andrews saw Tazawa on Monday and diagnosed him with a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow -- the same ligament that, when torn, requires Tommy John surgery to replace. Tazawa has a sprain and not a tear, so such a procedure shouldn't be necessary. But Tazawa plans on discussing his situation with the Red Sox's medical staff this week to determine the next step.

"They've got to figure out what's the best course of action -- whether it's surgery, whether it's rehab," manager Terry Francona said. "That's kind of where we're at right now."

Tazawa, an international free agent who signed with Boston in 2008 and immediately became one of the team's top pitching prospects, first began feeling "tightness" in his elbow at the end of last season. He said that he often felt similar sensations during his professional career in Japan.

"The tightness that I was experiencing was fairly normal and what I'm used to," Tazawa said. "So if it was completely up to me, I probably wouldn't have gone ahead and gotten it examined. But at the same time, it's an opportunity for me to find out exactly what's going on, exactly what the reasons are, so I think it's a good thing to have that chance right now."

Still, the tightness caused enough of a stir for the Red Sox to send Tazawa to Alabama.

"Dr. Andrews kind of laid everything out for him," Francona said. "Soon, we'll figure out what's going to happen. I think a lot's getting thrown at him in a hurry."

Wakefield sharp in Minors tuneup

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Tim Wakefield threw three shutout innings in a Double-A game in Fort Myers, Fla., on Tuesday.

Wakefield, who will open the season as Boston's fourth starter, walked two Rays Minor Leaguers, didn't allow a hit and struck out three. He threw 47 pitches and will have one final tuneup in Saturday's exhibition game in Washington.

Victor Martinez, who caught Wakefield in the game, finished 1-for-2 at the plate with a single and a walk.

Dice-K feels fine after simulated game

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Daisuke Matsuzaka felt fine following a 62-pitch simulated game against Minor Leaguers on Monday, according to manager Terry Francona. Matsuzaka, who has been battling back and neck problems, will pitch in Boston's exhibition game in Washington this Saturday. "He's starting to get to the point where he'll go out and string some innings together, and start getting on his road back," Francona said. ... Francona expects infielder Mike Lowell, who is recovering from right thumb surgery, to be ready for Opening Day. "I do," Francona said. "It's not always perfect, but I'm not sure it has to be." ... Outfielder Jeremy Hermida sat out his third consecutive game on Tuesday with tightness in his right hamstring, but may play this week. "It'd be nice to get him back in there the next couple of days, but we don't want to get him back in there until he's ready," Francona said.

Boston nearing deal with Cuban outfielder

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox, ever-active in the international market the past few years, were close to signing Cuban defector Jorge Padron to a Minor League contract on Tuesday.

According to a source, there were still some logistics to be completed, including a physical.

El Nuevo Herald, a Spanish-language publication in Miami, was the first to report the news that the Red Sox had landed Padron.

A left-handed-hitting outfielder, Padron, who is 23 years old, left Cuba following the 2009 season. He played a pivotal role in Cuba winning the 2004 Junior World Championship.

Padron is regarded as a strong contact hitter who has the ability to spray the ball from gap to gap. He served as the leadoff man for Pinar Del Rio. In 2009, Padron hit .345 with a .429 slugging percentage.

The Red Sox made a splash in the Cuban market last September, signing Jose Iglesias, who is widely regarded as Boston's shortstop of the future.

Sox, Mass. lottery unveil scratch ticket

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Red Sox and the Massachusetts State Lottery announced a $10 Monster Money instant scratch ticket on Tuesday, which will raise more than $14.6 million for Bay State communities.

Sox president Larry Lucchino and state treasurer Timothy P. Cahill made the announcement on Tuesday. The game will award players with more than $96 million in prizes, including three $3 million grand prizes and 10 pairs of Monster seats to Red Sox home games.

"The Red Sox are proud of our relationship with the Massachusetts State Lottery, and happy to partner with them once again," Lucchino said in a statement.

This limited edition ticket will not only give Red Sox fans opportunities to win special experiences on the Green Monster and other Red Sox prizes and memorabilia, but will also help to bring benefits to the 351 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts.

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