Evening tabloid Nikkan Gendai (July 31) is reporting that the situation surrounding injured and disgruntled pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and Boston Red Sox management have reached a “cooling point” with the right-hander set to make an official apology next week.
Manager Terry Francona said during a press conference prior to the game with the Oakland A’s earlier this week that he had a chance to speak with Matsuzaka over the phone. Francona emphasized that tension no longer existed between the two parties. “Matsuzaka understands how serious this is, and he has frankly admitted his mistake. People do make mistakes,” he said.
The controversy started with a July 27 report from news service Allatanys, in which Matsuzaka, who is on the 15-day disabled list with weakness in his shoulder, complained about the training methods of the Red Sox — a program that he feels does not allow him to throw as often as he would like: “If I’m forced to continue to train in this environment,” he said, “I may no longer be able to pitch like I did in Japan. The only reason why I managed to win games during the first and second years [in the United States] was because I used the savings of the shoulder I built up in Japan. Since I came to the Major Leagues, I couldn’t train in my own way, so now I’ve lost all those savings.”
Matsuzaka has since said those statements were not intended to be public.
Yet Nikkan Gendai believes that Matsuzaka will apologize in person to management before the Red Sox play the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 4 in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the pitcher is rehabilitating. The daily then wonders, who is right?
World Baseball Classic team pitching coach Kazuhiro Takeda tells Nikkan Gendai: “Since Matsuzaka had been delivering good results by maintaining his own style, we understand his wish to throw more. Red Sox management needs to respect Matsuzaka’s pride. The team should provide an explanation that he can understand. However, Matsuzaka is playing in the U.S., and the Red Sox pay his salary. So I think in the end the Matsuzaka has to accommodate the Red Sox and the American way of thinking.”