How do you repair a strained relationship? Daisuke Matsuzaka, who admitted hiding a groin strain from Boston trainers and officials last season, apparently is doing his best to work his way back into the Red Sox’s good graces.
Matsuzaka reported early to the team’s spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla., and appears to be in much better condition than last season, when he made only 12 starts because of shoulder problems that apparently evolved from the groin strain.
The talented right-hander has been working out since Thursday at the team’s Fort Myers complex after spending time this winter at the Athletes’ Performance training center in Arizona.
"He worked hard this winter, that’s evident," general manager Theo Epstein told the Boston Globe. "He has lost weight."
Matsuzaka agreed to recommit himself to conditioning after last season and so far has done everything the Red Sox expected him to do in preparation for a comeback season.
"Obviously we want to see him pitch well, but everything has gone the way we hoped," Epstein told the newspaper. "Daisuke is important to us."
According to the Globe, the Red Sox are counting on Matsuzaka, who is entering the fourth year of a six-year contract, to be the fourth or fifth starter behind rotation stalwarts Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey.