Boras 'very encouraged' by Dice-K

June, 20, 2012
BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his third start of the season Thursday night at Fenway Park when the Sox host the Miami Marlins.

It's been a little more than a year since the right-hander had Tommy John surgery on June 10, 2011, and he's 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA since returning to the rotation on June 9.

Scott Boras, Matsuzaka's agent, is in town and spoke about his client's return from surgery.

"Very encouraged," Boras said. "His stuff is better and he's much better. He's come back stronger and I've been very encouraged by his fastball, and obviously you expect the command to improve as he does more, and the main thing for him is to establish his durability, keep the team in games and take the ball every five days. I think he's really encouraged to be back pitching. His attitude is he's really pleased about being back and performing."

Matsuzaka arrived in Boston and posted a 33-15 record in his first two seasons and helped the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2007. But since the 2008 season, he's battled a slew of injuries and has been relatively unproductive.

He was finally shut down after seven starts in 2011 and had the reconstructive surgery.

"When the game is taken away from you for the first time, I think you come back with kind of a renewed attitude," Boras said. "When you haven't played for a while and you get around the field and you know you can do it again is a real relief, a reward, to be back."

This is the last year of Matsuzaka's six-year contract with the Red Sox. Boras said his client fully intends to stay in major league baseball and not return to play in Japan.

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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