BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Daisuke Matsuzaka pronounced himself ready to return to the Boston Red Sox rotation after throwing six scoreless innings in a minor-league rehab start.
“I think I’ve thrown enough pitches at this point to be ready to pitch in the big leagues,” Matsuzaka said through interpreter Masa Hoshino. “When compared to the second time I went on the DL last year, it took me a really long time to have that feeling. You can’t even compare them right now. I’m confident I can pitch in the big leagues.”
Dice-K is on a 30-day rehab assignment because of a neck strain. He is scheduled to pitch again for Pawtucket on Tuesday at Rochester.
On Thursday, he allowed three hits, struck out two and didn’t walk any batters against the Buffalo Bisons. His fastballs ranged between 88 and 92 miles per hour and he threw 86 pitches.
“I think, just like my last start, my arm action was pretty good,” Matsuzaka said. “I wanted to work on being able to make adjustments on my breaking pitches today. Compared to my last outing, I think I was able to do that. Today I was able to use the slider with my normal arm action and it seemed to do the work on its own so that was great.
Before the seventh, pitching coach Rich Sauveur asked him if he wanted to go back out for one more hitter.
“In the past, when I made the decision to go back out, it’s usually been a really tough out,” Matsuzaka said. “When I was asked that today, we decided that would be it. But at the same time, there would have been no problems if I needed to go back out there.”
In his first rehab start, Matsuzaka pitched five scoreless innings against Rochester, throwing 73 pitches. He allowed two hits and struck out three in that outing.