Daisuke Matsuzaka's unimpeded progress in recovering from Tommy John surgery last June is ready for the next step. The right-hander will start a rehab assignment with Salem of the High-A Carolina League on Monday, and he will have a pitch limit of roughly 75 (up from the 59 he threw in his last extended spring training outing).
"Daisuke feels really good," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He's ready to start dealing with competition rather than rehabilitation."
Valentine said that Matsuzaka will still face controlled competition, meaning that he won't be allowed to throw 30 pitches in an inning. However, the outing will start a progression of approximately five starts after which Matsuzaka could be ready or nearly ready to return to the big leagues. The right-hander will face a 30-day rehab clock, meaning that he could be pitching again in the majors by the end of May, less than a year after his surgery.
Matsuzaka is 49-30 with a 4.25 ERA in five seasons with the Sox. Last year, he was 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA in eight games before blowing out his elbow.
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