Notes: Konichiwa, Dice-K
Maddux, Matsuzaka chat before Saturday's Padres-Sox game
SAN DIEGO -- Away from the multitude of Japanese reporters who chronicle his every move, Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka met with San Diego pitcher Greg Maddux for the first time on Saturday in a room outside the home clubhouse at PETCO Park.
Matsuzaka, who got the better of Maddux and the Padres in Friday's 2-1 victory, talked with Maddux -- through his interpreter -- about several topics, and the Japanese pitcher asked Maddux for advice and even received an autographed ball from the future Hall of Fame pitcher.
"It was a nice little chat," Maddux said. "I wish the cameras weren't around, but I enjoyed talking to him."
Matsuzaka allowed one run on five hits over six innings. He struck out nine and walked five, which led to a high pitch count (126), and ultimately, led to his early hook.
Maddux wasn't too shabby himself, allowing two runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts over six innings.
Matsuzaka and Maddux have the same agent -- Scott Boras -- who attended Friday's game to watch two of his prized clients face each other.
Sinking in: This is the third season that Padres left-handed relief pitcher Royce Ring has used a lower arm slot for his delivery, and it looks like things are, well, starting to sink in for the former San Diego State University standout.
Ring, who was recalled from Triple-A Portland on Friday when Doug Brocail went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left buttocks, struck out all three hitters he faced on Friday -- Jason Varitek, David Murphy and Julio Lugo -- on 11 pitches.
Ring went 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA with Portland and had 39 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. His walks are down as he's been pounding the strike zone.
"It's the third year my arm angle has been a little lower, and it has gotten better each year; the first year was tough. I was in New York [with the Mets], and I had 12 walks in 10 innings. Some days it was there, some days it wasn't.
"Last year, I had a good grasp on it in New York, and this year it's even better. Hopefully, it continues like that."
Ring came to the Padres in the offseason with pitcher Heath Bell, and he pitched well in Spring Training but didn't make the team. The southpaw's command has been as good as it has ever been.
"I've been feeling good every day -- once you get in that groove and repeat it every day," Ring said. "The biggest thing has been getting that first-pitch strike so you can expand the zone and throw whatever you want."
Getting back on top: Speaking of left-handed relievers, it took Justin Hampson all of a day to figure out what went wrong in his June 19 appearance against Baltimore, where he allowed three runs on four hits while getting just one out.
"I came out the next and played catch on flat ground with Ack [San Diego bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds] and got back up on top of the ball," Hampson said. "I think I was on the side of the ball [against Baltimore], just kind of pushing the ball."
The rough outing against the Orioles was certainly uncharacteristic for Hampson, who, before that outing, hadn't allowed a run in his past 10 appearances and 20 1/3 innings in which he dropped his ERA from 9.00 to 0.81.
Hampson said he essentially flushed that bad outing as soon as it was over, although he was still kicking himself a bit for hitting Freddie Bynum with a pitch to start an inning that he couldn't finish.
"It was frustrating, because I had him in a 1-2 count, and I felt as though I should have put him away," Hampson said. "It kind of slipped out of my hand a little bit. But it's not the reason the whole inning got away from me. I was just unable to make good pitches when I needed to."
Ailing Gonzo: First baseman Adrian Gonzalez was in the lineup on Saturday, which hardly merits surprise considering that he's appeared in every game this season for the Padres.
But Gonzalez certainly wasn't in good spirits after Friday's game against the Red Sox -- and it had very little to do with San Diego's 2-1 loss.
Gonzalez fouled a ball off the top of his right foot in the first inning and played on it for the remaining eight frames. Gonzalez's foot swelled up considerably after the game, Padres manager Bud Black said. The foot was wrapped heavily in ice after the game, and Gonzalez was walking with a slight limp.
Friar notes: It turns out that Black faced Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield -- who got the start on Saturday -- when Black was pitching for the Giants and Wakefield was with the Pirates. Black was 0-for-3 against Wakefield in a 3-2 loss to the Pirates. The Pirates got two runs on a sixth-inning home run by Barry Bonds, his 25th of the season, in that game. ... Terrmel Sledge started in left field on Saturday. It was Sledge's first start since June 16 against the Cubs. He's had just three at-bats since then. ... Black indicated that outfielder Brian Giles (bone bruise and right knee) is close to leaving for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment, likely with Class A Lake Elsinore. Lake Elsinore is home through Wednesday, which at that time Giles will likely rejoin the team in Los Angeles for the start of a three-game series against the Dodgers on June 29. ... The Padres took a 5-8 Interleague Play record into Saturday's game, including a 1-6 mark at PETCO Park. ... The Padres will get to face Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Matt Cain when they begin a three-game series against the Giants on Monday at AT&T Park.
On deck: The Padres conclude their three-game series against the Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. PT on Sunday at PETCO Park. Jake Peavy (9-1, 1.98 ERA) gets the start for the Padres. He will be opposed by Josh Beckett (10-1, 3.14).
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.