FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell had nothing but positives to say after Daisuke Matsuzaka threw off the mound for the first time since Feb. 12, but would not commit to saying whether Matsuzaka would be ready for the start of the season.
"Each of our starters have gone through three bullpen sessions followed by two batting practice sessions," Farrell said. "Whether we determine a full slate like that is needed will be dependent on how he recovers from the next bullpen sessions he goes through.''
Farrell also would not pinpoint a timetable for when Matsuzaka might throw in a spring training game.
"Not at this point we’re taking this pretty much step by step,” Farrell said, “but every step has been a positive one and the fact that he is recovering and bouncing back is a testament to the work he did this offseason and the shape he's coming into camp. Barring the initial setback, the interruption, he's responded very favorably to each outing.''
Farrell said that ideally, the Red Sox prefer that their starters get 25 innings of work in camp before the start of the season, and said it's too early to predict whether Matsuzaka will be ready.
Earlier in the day, Farrell had been a little more definitive, telling ESPNBoston.com there was only an “outside chance” Matsuzaka would be ready to start the regular season.
Matsuzaka met with the media after the session and said it wasn’t his decision whether he would open the season on time. Asked if he thought he could, he said “I think we’ll have to see if I stay on track.”
Matsuzaka, who said he felt he had good command and good life on the ball during the session, was asked to compare how he felt now during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
“As far as I am concerned I feel better [than I did in 2007],” Matsuzaka said.