‘Dice-K’ strikes out 3 in Red Sox debut

By Jason Radka
March 8, 2007

New York Daily News/MCT

Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka struck out three batters in his debut as a Boston Red Sock. The Red Sox signed Matsuzaka for $52 million over six years and paid the Seibu Lions in the Japanese league $51 million only in order to meet with him.

In 204 games in the Japanese league, Matsuzaka posted a 108-60 record and delivered a slender 2.95 earned run averaged. Matsuzaka also topped out at around 1,300 strikeouts.

In his debut in a Beantown uniform, Matsuzaka’s fastball traveled the 90 feet to home plate at a swift 94 miles per hour. According to scouts, Matsuzaka has four great pitches (and possibly a fifth), including a fastball, changeup, slider and curveball.

Dice-K retired sophomore Hanley Ramirez on two pitchers, after a first pitch strike from the Japanese phenomenon. Catcher Jason Varitek had fun with Dice-K in his debut; impressed with how his English has come along. According to cbsportsline sources, (Varitek) said, “Let’s throw a slider inside. Can you do it?” Matsuzaka said, “Yes. It was in English.” Varitek said he used sign language to aid the conversation. “He understood me, which I wasn’t sure,” Varitek said. “He made a good pitch.”

Rumored to throw the knee-buckling gyroball, often called the “miracle pitch” invented by Japanese scientists, Ryutaro Himeno and Kazushi Tezuka. According to the book “The Secret of the Miracle Pitch,” the gyroball’s release point has the pitcher move their arms toward the corner bags (third base for right, first base for a lefty) instead of having their arms propel the ball towards home plate. The motion creates such a spin that the ball has been rumored to break close to three feet. Matsuzaka has not confirmed or denied to reporters whether or not he will use the pitch this season.

In his first game, Dice-K threw 47 pitches, 31 for strikes, went three scoreless innings, allowed 2 hits, 1 walk and 3 strikeouts. In an already deep pitching staff that boasts Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Matt Clement and first year starter Jonathon Paplebon, the Boston Red Sox may on paper put their best team since their 2004 World Series victory.

The Loquitur welcomes your comments and questions on this story. Please send your comments to: Loquitur@googlegroups.com. The editors will reviewyour comments each week and make corrections if warranted.

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Jason Radka

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