Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka made only 12 starts last season, finishing the year with a 4-6 record and 5.76 ERA. Boston pitching coach John Farrell says better communication will allow Matsuzaka and the Red Sox to be successful in 2010.
“I think the one thing that we strive to do, and go to great lengths, is to put a player in the best position possible to have success,’’ Farrell told the Boston Globe prior to Thursday night’s Boston Baseball Writers Association dinner, “and that takes an openness on all parts to accomplish that.’’
Matsuzaka told a Japanese magazine that he suffered a leg injury — likely a strained groin — while training for the World Baseball Classic prior to last season and hid the injury from the team.
“I think when it comes out after the fact, there is some [frustration] there, but I know that as a competitor, he wanted to be on the mound, and he didn’t want any other distractions,” Farrell told the Globe. “Let’s put it this way: If he felt that he couldn’t pitch because of it,that clearly would have come out at the time.”
Last season, the Red Sox pitcher also made some controversial comments about his training style with the team. Matsuzaka later met with team officials to attempt to clear the air and come to an understanding.
Farrell is hopeful both sides have learned from the past.
“I think, based on the challenges that we dealt with and the obstacles that were overcome physically, I think we’re moving toward a more open and consistent line of communication,” Farrell told the Globe.
Matsuzaka, who pitched only 59 innings in 2009, has vowed to be a better pitcher. He’s spent part of the offseason training at Athletes’ Performance in Arizona, and the reports on his progress have been positive. Farrell spoke to the right-hander on Sunday and is encouraged.
“He’s in a great frame of mind,’’ said Farrell. “The workout program at AP has gone very well. He is extremely motivated to have a year reminiscent of ’07 and ’08 here with us.”
Manager Terry Francona downplayed the report that Matsuzaka hid his leg injury from the team.
"That is really like old news for us," Francona told the Lowell Sun on Thursday. "I know it just came out in the newspapers and dredged up things we have already addressed."
Matsuzaka joins Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield in Boston’s starting staff, and Francona is excited about that depth.
"We have six pretty good pitchers," Francona told the Sun. "Our goal is to send a good pitcher out there every night."