Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 54 pitches in the bullpen today. The breakdown:
40 to hitters Aaron Bates, Angel Sanchez and Tug Hulett, 10 fastballs with Sanchez just standing there and four pitch-outs.
Matsuzaka lacked command early on but the last 20 pitches were much better. He got only one swing and miss and gave several hard-hit balls. But given his many stops and starts this spring, that he was able to throw 54 pitches off a mound is a significant step forward.
The session was coordinated by pitching coach John Farrell and attended by Theo Epstein, Terry Francona, assistants GMs Ben Cherington and Allard Baird and bullpen coach Gary Tuck.
The tentative plan moving forward:
Friday: Bullpen session.
Sunday: Two-innings in a minor-league game.
Sometime next week: An actual major-league game.
John Farrell: “Successful. He threw all his pitches. … Certainly we’ll re-evaluate him when he comes back in on Friday. Ideally we have a bullpen scheduled for Friday pending that evaluation. Provided all goes well on Friday, it’s not out of the question for a game on the minor-league side on Sunday. That would be the ideal scenario. But still, we have the right to adjust by a day if so needed.
“Most importantly is just the overall physical aspect. No restrictions, no hesitation. He feels good about himself. How he feels about himself is a huge component at this point and all those are positive signs.
“We don’t want to skip any steps along the way here. We want to be sure that he has ample time, and we provide him ample time, to build a foundation that’s going to endure an entire season.
“Every progressive step is a positive one and one that you can build upon. Increase pitches, increase innings. Today was an important one to at least see a hitter in there and for him to get feedback on how his pitches are acting.”
Daisuke Matsuzaka: “For the time being, I was able to throw normally. … In the second half of my session, especially when I started throwing from the stretch, that was when I had a really good life on the ball.
“I think I had good life on my fastball and I also felt I had good break and good command on by breaking ball, although there is some work to be done there. I didn’t pitch inside but that is something I’ll work as I start pitching in games.
“Really, the only way to go from here is forward. I’m not going to spend too much time looking over my shoulder. I gradually feel I can get over these frustrations as I move forward. … The big thing now is to see how I feel tomorrow and see how my body responds.”