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Daisuke speaks to the media … in English

08.05.09 at 8:32 pm ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Prior to Wednesday night’s Red Sox game at Tropicana Field, Daisuke Matsuzaka answered questions from both the Japanese and American media. Tuesday he had met with Sox manager Terry Francona for approximately 45 minutes, and had another hour-long get-together with pitching coach John Farrell Wednesday afternoon.

But prior to answering questions through translator Masa Hoshino, Matsuzaka asked if he could read a statement in English, the first time he has addressed the American press in the language. The statement — which centered around the controversy from a Japanese-language article first surfaced in the United States by WEEI.com — was as follows: 

‘€œI want to clear up a few things. It was not my intention to make the meeting public or to criticize the Red Sox. The person who wrote the article is my old, old friend. I still trust her and this has never happened before. Training, no problem. No problem with the Red Sox. We will work it all out. I want to thank all my fans for their support and I can’€™t wait to see all of you when I go back to Fenway Park. Thank you.’€

Then came the question and answer portion of the afternoon…

How hard working on English? ‘€œI’€™m very well aware of all the difficulties and communication because of the language barrier, is a source of stress for the coaches and for the manager. It’€™s just another obstacle to having good communication. So I’€™m aware of that, and recently, bit by bit, admittedly, I’€™ve been taking steps to study a little bit of English every day.’€

Are you in better physical shape? ‘€œI think you can tell, just sort of by taking a look at me. But compared to really the beginning of the season, I feel much fitter and just gradually every day, I’€™ve been feeling stronger and more ready physically.’€

What date are you targeting to pitch for the Red Sox? ‘€œOf course I feel that once I feel physically ready then that’€™s going to be the time I’€™m also ready to pitch. I’€™m going to leave those decisions up to the discretion of the manager and whatever the coaching staff and the manager decides for me, I’€™m just going to do my best to hopefully meet whatever target they come up with.’€

Is the goal to pitch this season? ‘€œOf course.’€

 How were meetings with the manager, pitching coach?  ‘€œJust like you said, I think it was very meaningful and valuable for me to come up here and speak to them face to face. I think, by actually having those conversations face to face, I was able to clear up some misunderstandings that were still lingering so I think it was a very, very valuable opportunity to see them. And precisely because of this opportunity and the time that they set aside for me, I feel that I’€™m going to be able to go back and really work hard and get back to focusing on my training, which is what I need to be doing.’€

Will struggles make him stronger mentally and help him understand what he needs for long term success? “Yes, definitely. I want to keep playing baseball for a long, long time. I think those experiences I’€™ve had this year that have been difficult are all very, very important and very, very meaningful. And I think that precisely because there has been so much to learn, I just hope that I can take those lessons and apply them to my career down the line.’€

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