- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2011

BOSTON (AP) - Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka could miss a month with a sprained ligament in his pitching elbow, marking the third straight season he’ll be out for quite a while.

Matsuzaka was put on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. Boston manager Terry Francona said it will be two weeks before Matsuzaka is examined again and that he won’t throw until then.

“When he goes out to pitch again, we want him to be free and easy,” Francona said before the Red Sox played Detroit.

The 30-year-old Matsuzaka was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament. He is 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA in eight games.

Right-hander Michael Bowden was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Daisuke experienced tightness in his elbow during his last start. His examination is consistent with a sprained lunar collateral ligament, and strain to his common flexor mass. An MRI was obtained which confirmed these exam findings,” team physician Dr. Thomas Gill said in a statement.

In each of the past two seasons, Matsuzaka had landed on the DL twice. Last year, he made only 25 starts because of neck strain and a strained right forearm.

In 2009, he made just 12 starts and pitched only 59 1-3 innings. He was sidelined with a strained shoulder early in the season and again with the same injury that June.

In 2008, Matsuzaka set a career-high with 18 wins despite missing some time with a strained rotator cuff.

Matsuzaka, for whom Boston paid $103 million ($51 million posting fee, plus $52 million contract) to acquire from Japan before the 2007 season, is in the fifth year of a six-year contract.

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