Daisuke heading to Japan, if all goes well

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager Terry Francona said this morning that the club now expects Daisuke Matsuzaka will go to Japan for the season-opening series against Oakland, assuming there are no complications when his wife, Tomoyo, gives birth to their second child.

The due date is March 19 — no word on whether labor will be induced — but this was the first indication the Sox have given that Matsuzaka is pencilled in for a start in Japan. The Red Sox will play two exhibition games against two Japanese clubs in Tokyo on March 21 and 23 and will take on the Oakland Athletics on March 25 and 26.

Matsuzaka is not expected to travel to Japan with the club, and Francona stressed that if for any reason Matsuzaka elects to stay in Boston, he will do so with the blessing of the club.

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