Stork Arrives; Matsuzaka Headed For Japan

Terry Francona said Friday he had no interest in providing daily updates on the condition of Daisuke Matsuzaka's pregnant wife. "We're not going to go centimeters and all that," Francona told reporters.

Turns out he doesn't have to worry about that anymore. Tomoyo Matsuzaka gave birth to the couple's second child, a boy, on Saturday morning. The Red Sox did not reveal the name of the child nor where he was born but said that Daisuke Matsuzaka should rejoin the Sox in Ft. Myers within the next few days.

The baby arrived four days before he was due and four days before the Sox are scheduled to depart for Japan for a pair of games against the Athletics. Francona said earlier this month Matsuzaka would remain behind if his wife was still expecting, so he'll presumably join the Sox for the trip back to his homeland and start one of the games March 25 or 26. And with ace Josh Beckett unlikely to pitch in Japan due to a sore back, Matsuzaka would appear to be the obvious sentimental favorite to start the opener.

"The birth of the child obviously gives him the opportunity now to go to Japan," Sox pitching coach John Farrell told reporters Saturday. "What game he'll pitch over there…we have not established a rotation for the two exhibitions [March 21 and 23] or the two games against Oakland. In due time, we'll have the ability to talk about that and map out what our rotation will be."

As for Beckett, he is scheduled to throw Sunday on flat ground for the first time since he was injured while warming up for a start Mar. 8. "His workouts, he's feeling good," Francona told reporters. "He's been doing all his arm exercises, everything like that. Now we'll just get him back playing catch on flat ground. That's good. We wanted him to. [Team doctors] thought it would be a week and they were right about on. So that's good."


Wakefield disappointed to see Mirabelli leave: Tim Wakefield spoke Saturday, two days after the Sox released his personal catcher and good friend Doug Mirabelli, and said he was shocked and disappointed by the move but that he looked forward to working with new backup catcher Kevin Cash.

"I feel like Cash can do a good job," Wakefield told reporters. "But I'm going to really miss Doug, not only his professionalism and the way he handled me and the comfort level that I had with him, but also his friendship. We've been together for eight years, accumulated a lot of wins and been through a lot of stuff together.

"It's unfortunate that it happened that way, but you kind of have to get past that and understand that I'm still an employee here and it's their decision to make."

Wakefield is scheduled to throw to Cash during a minor league game Sunday. The two worked together well last year, when Cash caught 14 straight scoreless innings by Wakefield in August while Mirabelli was on the disabled list.


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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