Archive for Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sox open season in Japan

Children wearing Boston Red Sox T-shirts clown around with the team's mascot in the dugout before a baseball clinic at Tokyo Dome on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. Boston will meet Oakland in Major League Baseball's regular-season opener today in Japan.

Children wearing Boston Red Sox T-shirts clown around with the team's mascot in the dugout before a baseball clinic at Tokyo Dome on Monday in Tokyo, Japan. Boston will meet Oakland in Major League Baseball's regular-season opener today in Japan.

March 25, 2008

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— Complete games were common for Daisuke Matsuzaka in Japan.

Then he came to the United States, where pitch counts and caution forced him out of games before he wanted to leave.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona let him finish just one of his 32 starts as a rookie last year.

It's Year 2 of the Dice-K era, and Francona still isn't ready to give his hardworking right-hander the ball and let him keep it until the end.

So fans in his homeland are bound to be disappointed today when Matsuzaka starts in the opening game of the major-league season against the Oakland Athletics. In 190 starts over eight seasons with the Seibu Lions, he completed 72 games.

Since the Red Sox arrived in Tokyo early Friday morning, Francona has been peppered with questions from Japanese writers about whether Matsuzaka will pitch a complete game.

The adrenaline should be pumping when he pitches in his home city for the first time time since he signed a $52 million, six-year deal with the Red Sox.

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