FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -Daisuke Matsuzaka had his first bullpen session of the spring with the Boston Red Sox on Friday after being named the MVP of the World baseball Classic.

Matsuzaka struggled with his control in the 54-pitch session ahead of his first Grapefruit League game of the season Monday against the Braves in Orlando.

Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell said Matsuzaka’s wildness was understandable considering all the traveling he has done.

“I think, all things considered, it was kind of what we had expected, worldwide travel, west coast travel, getting in late the other night, still adjusting to the east coast,” Farrell said. “So, he had a chance to throw all his pitches … in his bullpen session. So, he’ll go Monday and we’ll look to be in that 70- to 75-pitch range.”

Matsuzaka was 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in the WBC for Japan. He allowed four runs, 15 hits and five walks while striking out 13 in 14 2-3 innings. He threw 98 pitches in the semifinals against the United States.

“Physically, I don’t have any problems,” he said through an interpreter. “But, mentally I do have to get myself prepared for the season, which I think may be more difficult than the physical element.”

Last season, Matsuzaka was 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA for Boston. He led the majors in opponents’ batting average at .211.

When asked what his goals were for this season, Matsuzaka said: “In the end it would be great to have the same kind of numbers and results that I was able to have last year. But, in terms of the content of my pitching, there are some big changes that I would like to make.”

The changes have to do with being more efficient to get deeper into games, Farrell said.

“It would be pitch efficiency combined with similar performance, Farrell said. “A lot of that performance is out of his control, but I think at the same time he did such a good job of keeping us in games into the sixth and seventh inning last year. If he can do that similar to a year ago and yet be more efficient, we might see him into the seventh and eighth inning a little bit more regularly.

“I know that he’s heard it a lot, both internally and externally, Farrell said. “So, he’s well aware of it. So, given the amount of adjustments and how intelligent he is, and because of what he’s accomplished, we don’t see it as being a challenge he won’t meet again.”

AP-ES-03-27-09 2011EDT

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.