July 31, 2009

Red Sox Still Working Out Pitching Philosophies With Matsuzaka

Before the Ortiz news hit, I thought Daisuke Matsuzaka's negative comments about the Red Sox organization's pitching philosophies (published by the Globe on Tuesday) would be the big story to come home to.

While in Florida, Dice spoke to a Japanese reporter:
If I'm forced to continue to train in this environment, 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 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.
Both John Farrell and Terry Francona said they were disappointed by the comments, but were also uncharacteristically blunt in their responses.

[B]ut there has to be some accountability and responsibility on the part of the player. So the disappointment comes from [him] basically airing his dirty laundry.
At times, he's been his own pitching coach. ... I've talked to Dice and Masa [translator Masa Hoshino]. I've had enough. I think they've had enough of me.
Take this with a grain (or pillar) of salt, but here are some CHB's observations:
The Sox are frustrated. They have done everything they can to accommodate Matsuzaka. They are angry that he puts the World Baseball Classic ahead of the World Series. They think he was out of shape when he reported this year. ... He never seems to be part of the team - even on days he pitches.
Tito and Dice spoke on Wednesday and the manager thought it went well. Francona also mentioned past discussions/issues with Matsuzaka:
Pitch counts. I know it bothered him, it ate at him. I understood that. Trips to the mound sometimes, he didn't view it like we do. Well, I want to understand it. When John Farrell makes a trip to the mound, we're not trying to get in the way of the game, we're trying to help. But if it doesn't help, we want to know why. So we're trying to learn.

I don't think it's fair for us to expect him to come to the United States, join our team, and jump on board with everything we've done when he hasn't done that his whole life. [But] there are things we're not willing to bend on because of health and productivity and he understands that. Don't know that he fully agrees, which I don't know that I would either if I grew up in a different environment with different training methods. ... We're still working on it.
Predictably, Matsuzaka issued a statement on Thursday, softening the rough edges of what had been previous reported:
I want to correct some misunderstandings. I did not go public with any complaints and I regret that some of my private conversations were made public without my knowledge or consent. Also, I never said in public or in private conversation that: "If I'm forced to train in this environment, I may no longer be able to pitch like I did in Japan."

I had no intention of criticizing the team and we are, in fact, working together to communicate, to exchange ideas, and to try to understand one another's baseball culture as we move forward. The team and I have had many meetings and conversations, and after shaking hands with the general manager, manager, and coaches on [July 24], I was able to resume my training in a good state of mind.
The Red Sox will check in with Matsuzaka's progress when the team is in Tampa Bay next Tuesday.

1 comment:

laura k said...

francona = baseball genius