With all the he-said, she-said drama surrounding the heavyweight battle of the century — Daisuke Matsuzaka versus the Boston Red Sox — it's reassuring to finally get some answers straight from the horses' mouths.
On Wednesday afternoon, manager Terry Francona told the media that things between him and his $103 million pitcher are now fine and dandy. On Thursday, Dice-K himself followed up with a statement of his own, announcing that he and Tito managed to iron out their issues.
The right-hander said, "I spoke to Tito on the phone [Wednesday], and I'm very glad that we had a productive conversation. As for the reports from the past several days, I want to correct some misunderstandings. I did not go public with any complaints and I regret that some of my private conversations were made public without my knowledge or consent."
The firestorm began when a Japanese Web site reported that Dice-K was dissatisfied with his team-mandated training regimen as he rehabs his shoulder in Florida. He reportedly said that if he continues to abide by Boston's rules, he will no longer be able to pitch with the same effectiveness he displayed in Japan.
Dice-K directly disupted that claim, saying, "I never said in public or in private conversation that: 'If I'm forced to continue to train in this environment, I may no longer be able to pitch like I did in Japan.' I had no intention of criticizing the team and we are, in fact, working together to communicate, to exchange ideas, and to try to understand one another's baseball culture as we move forward."
So as for all that speculation that the rift between the Red Sox and the Japanese superstar has grown so large that a positive relationship cannot be salvaged, think again. Dice-K plans to comply with the team's plans until he is reevaluated next week, when Francona and friends visit the Rays.
"The team and I have had many meetings and conversations, and after shaking hands with the general manager, manager, and coaches on the 24th, I was able to resume my training in a good state of mind," Dice-K said. "My goal is to put myself into a position where I can contribute to this team. I look forward to rejoining my teammates and playing in front of the fans at Fenway Park."
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