BOSTON (AP) – Daisuke Matsuzaka dined with his would-be Boston bosses and took in a Los Angeles Lakers game during a trip to the United States, then headed back to Japan and left his agent to work out a deal with the Red Sox.

“We had some initial discussions yesterday,” agent Scott Boras said Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “We’re continuing to talk. We’ve started the process.”

Boston bid $51.1 million for the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka, who was the MVP of last spring’s World Baseball Classic. General manager Theo Epstein has until the end of Dec. 14 to sign him.

Red Sox owner Tom Werner confirmed that the sides got together on Saturday night for dinner at his Los Angeles-area home in Pacific Palisades.

“We had kind of an owners and executives meeting Saturday to kind of introduce D-Mat to everyone and everyone to us,” Boras said. “It was an evening where I think both sides learned a lot about one another. A good cultural exchange.”

Boras said Matsuzaka returned to Japan on Monday.

Under Epstein, the Red Sox have not hesitated to make college-style recruiting trips to land talent. In 2003, after losing a heartbreaking playoff series to the New York Yankees, Epstein and his lieutenants had Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling to persuade him to accept a trade from Arizona to Boston.

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