Matsuzaka thinks return will be earlier than expected

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Matsuzaka thinks return will be earlier than expected

FORT MYERS, Fla. Daisuke Matsuzaka, sporting an auburn-ish, shaggy do, his right shoulder and arm wrapped in a large ice pack, talked about his recovery from Tommy John surgery in June.

Im still far from my goal, where I want to be, he said. So Im just taking it day by day and do what I can each day. But Ive been told by the trainers that my rehab is going well. So Im happy about that.

I try not to set a particular date for myself but the trainers have mentioned an approximate data they have mentioned they expect me to make a return. But having said that I want to come back at a 100 percent and I dont want to rush things. I want to make sure my bodys right when I come back, but I also would like to come back as early as possible.

When might that date be?

Id rather not say but its probably earlier than what you guys have in mind.

Matsuzaka, who is entering the final year of his six-year, 52 million contract, has not always been comfortable in his tenure with the Sox. Perhaps having Bobby Valentine, who managed for seven seasons in Japan, at the helm for the Sox could help Matsuzaka.

In Japan I only knew him as the opposing teams manager, Matsuzaka said. So I look forward to getting to know him as a person in spring training. And I had the opportunity to speak with him at length yesterday and he had looked up everything for my career since I came to the majors and we had a very good conversation.

Asked if the conversation was in Japanese, Matsuzaka replied:

There was more Japanese than I had expected and I was very impressed with his Japanese.

Their conversation included Valentines comments as an ESPN analyst when he was critical of the Sox handling of the Japanese pitcher.

He spoke his side of his opinion., which I thought were very insightful and I also told him my thoughts on that and I think were on the same page, Matsuzaka said. We can move forward now.

Matsuzaka and Valentine played catch at the start of Tuesdays workout, a first for Matsuzaka.

It was my first time playing catch with my manager since becoming a professional, he said. So I was very nervous at the beginning.

Stevens: Bradley, Zeller, Jerebko out vs. Trail Blazers

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Stevens: Bradley, Zeller, Jerebko out vs. Trail Blazers

BOSTON – Before Brad Stevens addressed the media before the Celtics faced the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday afternoon, he had to take a moment to make sure he wouldn’t forget anyone who wasn’t able to play.
 
Yeah, the list was a pretty long one.
 
Tyler Zeller, Demetrius Jackson and Jonas Jerebko will not play tonight due to sickness. And Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will also be out with a timetable that’s starting to feel like it’ll be longer than anyone would want.
 
“I don’t anticipate Avery this week at all,” Stevens said. “He still has some soreness. Obviously we’re concerned about the long-term impact of a sore Achilles; what it means on that foot but also what it means when you compensate off it. But he’ll be back when he’s ready but I think he’s still a little bit away.”
 
Bradley, the team’s top on-the-ball defender and No. 2 scorer this season at 17.7 points per game, will be out for the sixth time in the Celtics’ last seven games because of the Achilles injury.
 
Replacing him in the starting lineup will be Marcus Smart whose status for tonight’s game wasn’t a sure thing.
 
On the Celtics’ pregame notes package, Smart was listed as probable with a sore right ankle injury. I asked Stevens about Smart’s status a few minutes ago, and he said the 6-foot-4 Smart will play tonight.
 
In his 15 starts this season, Smart has averaged 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 38.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent on 3's - all of which are better than what he produces when coming off the bench. 
 

Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”

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Sale: “Time for both sides to do something different, I guess”

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”