Tim Wakefield Encouraged by Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Bullpen Session

Tim Wakefield Encouraged by Daisuke Matsuzaka's Bullpen Session There may be some competition for the final spot in the Red Sox rotation, but that won’t stop teammates from offering each other a few encouraging words.

After his spring throwing program was delayed by a mild back strain, Daisuke Matsuzaka threw his second bullpen session Sunday and looked good in his 65 pitches, according to ESPN.com.

"He worked his butt off this winter,” said fellow pitcher Tim Wakefield, who may be competing with Dice-K for the fifth spot in the rotation. “He looked great coming into spring training. He looks like he's in shape. I watched him throw … and he looked great."

Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell echoed the knuckleballer’s sentiment.

"Right now it's more of refining the timing in his delivery and establishing a release point on each individual pitch as opposed from a health standpoint that he's not feeling anything, which he is not,” Farrell said of Matsuzaka. “It’s encouraging from that standpoint, he's into progressional bullpens and ultimately to batting practice."

Matsuzaka is looking to rebound from a poor — albeit injury-riddled — 2009 season, but he likely won’t see the mound at Fenway Park for a little while. Though the Japanese starter could throw a live batting practice session on Friday or Saturday and has an outside shot at being ready for opening day, Farrell admitted that the Sox were a little gun-shy, not wanting to rush Matsuzaka along too quickly and risk a repeat performance of last season.

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