The Red Sox have added some low-cost starters this offseason, and are still very much looking for pitching help before Opening Day. But could Daisuke Matsuzaka be the guy to come back and help Boston down the stretch in 2012?
Matsuzaka certainly has a ways to go before returning, but he reportedly made a significant stride on Tuesday. The right-hander threw a bullpen session off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in June, according to The Mainichi Daily News.
Matsuzaka reportedly threw 21 pitches — the first 11 with a catcher standing in front of home plate, and the next 10 with the catcher crouched behind the dish.
"Today is like a warm-up," Matsuzaka said. "I think I'll throw harder next week."
The righty is expected to throw long toss on Wednesday, and then throw again in the bullpen on Friday barring any setbacks.
This season marks the last of Matsuzaka's six-year deal, which he signed prior to the 2007 season. He pitched in just eight games last year (seven starts), going 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA.
Matsuzaka could return late in the season if all goes according to plan.