Last season didn't go quite as planned for Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Japanese phenom — for whom the Red Sox paid almost $100 million back in 2006 — began his season by pitching Japan to the World Baseball Classic title before arriving late to spring training and flopping through the first half of the season.
He seemed to have it all worked out by the end of the summer, but still — Dice-K's offseason strategy is going to be a bit different this time around.
According to Boston.com, general manager Theo Epstein said Matsuzaka will return to the United States long before spring training to begin conditioning for the 2010 season.
Matsuzaka will arrive in Arizona sometime in late December and will work out at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Phoenix, the facility of choice for other members of the Red Sox such as Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia.
"It is not decided that I will be doing that in Arizona," Matsuzaka told Sankei Sports, "but the facility seems to be an environment where I can really concentrate on my program. Pedroia was the one that introduced me."
Once they settle into their new spring-training home in Ft. Myers in the future, the Red Sox plan to build an offseason strength and conditioning facility that the Red Sox can use instead of heading out to Phoenix.