Daisuke Matsuzaka has faced difficulties adjusting to pitching in the United States, but things have improved for the Red Sox right-hander this year.
Matsuzaka has shown a newfound dedication to the Red Sox by embracing the team’s offseason training program for the first time in his Boston career, the Boston Herald reports.
Matsuzaka earned MVP honors at last year’s World Baseball Classic, posting a 2.45 ERA with Team Japan. However, his performance on the international level did not translate to the major leagues as Matsuzaka went 4-6 with a 5.76 ERA and had two stints on the disabled list.
“I think whatever has happened is ultimately my responsibility,” Matsuzaka told the Herald.
The former 18-game winner has worked hard to prepare himself for the season by following the instructions of his coaches. Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell has noticed an improvement in Matsuzaka’s mechanics.
“The delivery he’s using right now, or showing us, is much more consistent with that of ’07 and ’08,” Farrell told the Herald. “I think that’s in large part due to his core strength, and the body control that he’s repeating.”
However, the Red Sox do not expect immediate results, and have chosen to take a slow path to help Matsuzaka recover.
“We’re taking this pretty much step by step,” Farrell said. “Every step has been a positive one, and the fact that he’s bouncing back is a testament to the work he put himself through this offseason.”
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