Wednesday March 16, 2011 | 06:38 AM

Jacoby Ellsbury homered on Tuesday, and Daisuke Matsuzaka pitrched five innings of two-hit ball (and only one walk).

Two comeback kids.

Ellsbury is coming back from cracked ribs which sidelined him most of the 2010 season. There have been a lot of knocks on Ellsbury, that he is soft and that he should have toughed it out. But no one knows the details of Ellsbury injury (and apparently the Red Sox doctors didn't get it right the first time, according to Ellsbury).

Ellsbury is a gifted athlete. And when his ribs aren't cracked, he is a force in the field and as a lead-off batter. Spring training numbers mean little but his hot March (12-of-29 for a .414 average) has helped take the pressure off.

Meanwhile, Matsuzaka has little pressure. Fans have basically given up on him. He's a good No. 5 starter, which is not a bad thing (unless you lok at the $100-million invested in him).

On Tuesday, he pitched five innings against the Tigers, striking out five and giving up only a 10-pitch walk to Victor Martinez. Tim Britton reports in the Providence Journal that Dice-K threw almost 2-of-3 pitches for strikes, and he fell into a hitter's count only twice.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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