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.