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Daisuke Matsuzaka: I can throw more now than in ’07

02.14.11 at 8:32 am ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Speaking to WEEI.com through translator Mikio Yoshimura, Daisuke Matsuzaka said that unlike last offseason he is not dealing with any injuries, has lost 11 pounds since a year ago, and feels like he is capable of pitching more than even when he first arrived with the Red Sox in 2007.

Matsuzaka has already thrown two bullpen sessions at the team’s minor-league training facility, with an extended morning of throwing with bullpen catcher Manny Martinez the day in between. Sunday, the 30-year-old threw approximately 70 pitches off the mound.

“I feel like I can throw more now than I used to. I feel physically better,” explained Matsuzaka, who battled a neck problem last spring training. “I feel like I can pitch more than I did in 2007.” The righty pitcher threw a career-high 204 2/3 innings in ’07.

Matsuzaka decided to work out this offseason in Honolulu with some of his former teammates from Seibu Lions. He explained that his regimen included parts of the Red Sox’ offseason workout program, and a portion of the plan given to him by a trainer from Japan. There was, the pitcher said, added emphasis on strengthening his legs.

“I carried over from the regular season and built a foundation for this season. That two worked out really well,” he said. “I healed and then continued to build up. I also had no concerns this offseason about any injuries, which is something I really hoped for. I wanted to be able to be 100 percent when I got here, and it came true.”

Matsuzaka finished ’10 making 25 starts, going 9-6 with a 4.69 ERA. He missed the first month of the season with a neck injury, not making his season debut until May 1, and then was placed on the 15-day disabled list in June due to a strained forearm.

For more spring training coverage, go to the Red Sox’ team page at weei.com/redsox.

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