Dice-K says he's healthy, ready to start

August, 22, 2012
8/22/12
6:30
PM ET
BOSTON -- Daisuke Matsuzaka believes he's ready to pitch again, but the Boston Red Sox haven't decided if and when the right-hander might make another start.

Matsuzaka worked seven scoreless innings in his rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I. He left after facing two Rochester Red Wings batters in the eighth inning. He allowed only one hit with four walks and seven strikeouts, tossing 102 pitches (59 for strikes).

He was at Fenway Park on Wednesday and deemed himself healthy and ready to go. He could be in line to start against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, but there's been no official word from the Red Sox.

"After my last start down in Pawtucket I told [manager] Bobby [Valentine] and [pitching coach] Randy [Niemann] that I felt good and I was ready. I haven't spoke with them this time around, but I'll be speaking to them soon and I think a decision will be made then," Matsuzaka said.

Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront has been on the DL since Aug. 10 with a right knee contusion. He's also set to be activated this weekend and is another option for Sunday's start. He tossed a bullpen Tuesday, and was up and down four times during the session.

As far as Dice-K's latest outing, Matsuzaka was pleased with his performance for the PawSox.

"It's the first time I threw deep into a game in a while and my body feels fine today," he said.

Valentine mentioned during his daily pregame news conference that Dice-K has a sore calf, but the pitcher said he's not worried about it at all.

"The reports were good," Valentine said. "He threw the ball well, he kept it down, had his locations and mixed his pitches. He came out of it all right, just a little sore calf is all I hear. All of the things that we were dealing with seemed to be OK."

Matsuzaka had Tommy John surgery on June 10, 2011, and returned to the rotation in less than a year, but has made only five starts for Boston this season with a 0-3 record and a 6.65 ERA. He's made a total of 11 minor league rehab starts for the PawSox this season, too.

"After I had the surgery, my body definitely feels better than it did before, which is a good thing," he said. "But it's definitely been stressful and frustrating to have to fight through all these injuries, but I think I'm finally at a good place and I'm looking forward to getting better and better every time I pitch."

There are only six weeks remaining in the regular season, and Matsuzaka's six-year contract will expire at the conclusion. There's been no indication that the Red Sox might want to re-sign the oft-injured performer, but Matsuzaka said he wants to remain in the majors and would like to do that in Boston.

"I've really enjoyed my time in Boston and my family has also enjoyed our time here, so of course I would like to but it's a little early to say where I'm going to be, or even talking about that," Matsuzaka said. "No matter how long I'm going to be here, I'd like to wear this Red Sox uniform with honor and play hard for the rest of the season and do what I can to contribute to the team."

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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