Daisuke Matsuzaka returns to Japan

Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to Japan instead of accompanying the Red Sox on the road trip, the Globe has learned.

Matsuzaka will return to the United States later this month to have his elbow examined by Angels team physician Lewis Yocum. The Red Sox have diagnosed Matsuzaka as having a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and a strained flexor mass.

Yocum has already evaluated Matsuzaka’s MRI. Once he examines Matsuzaka in person, the parties could decide whether season-ending surgery is required. To date, the Red Sox have indicated the injury can be managed by rest and rehabilitation.

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If Matsuzaka were to have Tommy John surgery, his career with the Red Sox could be over. That surgery usually takes 12-14 months of recovery times and Matsuzaka’s contract expires after the 2012 season.

UPDATE, 1:56 a.m.: Terry Francona said after the game that Matsuzaka was given permission to return Japan for a personal reason. He was not going to get surgery. Another source refuted a report that Matsuzaka was going to be examined by a Japanese doctor.

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