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Whither Matsuzaka?


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#1 Hairps

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 01:43 PM

An earlier thread on Tommy John timelines got me interested in looking at when we could reasonably expect Matsuzaka to return, and what we could expect from him once he returns. These seem to be very important questions when trying to answer what, or to what extent, or what if anything the Sox should try to do to further bolster the rotation in the remaining weeks of the off-season.

Since 2009, the following three pitchers seem to provide the best-case (but still reasonable) scenarios from which we could then further calibrate our expectations:

Edinson Volquez:

SURGERY: 8/3/2009
FIRST REHAB START: 6/23/2010
DAYS BTWN: 324
NEXT MLB START: 7/17/2010
DAYS BTWN: 348

Jordan Zimmerman:

SURGERY: 8/19/2009
FIRST REHAB START: 7/2/2010
DAYS BTWN: 317
NEXT MLB START: 8/26/2010
DAYS BTWN: 372

Stephen Strasburg:

SURGERY: 9/3/2010
FIRST REHAB START: 8/7/2011
DAYS BTWN: 338
NEXT START: 9/6/2011
DAYS BTWN: 368

Let’s set those as the optimistic-but-reasonable parameters for Matsuzaka’s return. So, going from Dice-K's 6/10/2011 surgery date...


FIRST MINOR LEAGUE REHAB START:

USING ZIMMERMAN’S REHAB TIMELINE (317 days): April 22, 2012
USING VOLQUEZ’S REHAB TIMELINE (324 days): April 29, 2012
USING STRASBURG’S REHAB TIMELINE (338 days): May 13, 2012


MLB RETURN:

USING VOLQUEZ’S MLB TIMELINE (348 days): May 23, 2012
USING STRASBURG’S MLB TIMELINE (368 days): June 12, 2012

USING ZIMMERMAN’S MLB TIMELINE (372 days): June 16, 2012

And what to reasonably expect upon Matsuzaka's return? Well, I'm suspicious of pitcher projections in general, even when not coming off of an injury, so I'll just post the data for how Volquez, Zimmerman, and Strasburg fared when they got back. Hopefully, the data is pretty self-explanatory, but the following should be helpful:

FB VELO: Fastball velocity for BEFORE (average of the two seasons prior to surgery) and AFTER.
COMMAND: K/BB
SWING & MISS: The percentage of pitches at which a batter swung and miss.
H MOVEMENT: Horizontal movement of the pitcher's fastball.
V MOVEMENT: Vertical movement of the pitcher's fastball.


VOLQUEZ
IP GS FIP FB VELO COMMAND SWING & MISS H MOVEMENT V MOVEMENT
BEFORE 5.01 93.6 1.5 24.4 -5.4 8.3
RETURN 62.7 12 4.00 93.8 1.9 29.9 -4.3 7.8
RETURN+1 108.7 20 5.29 93.4 1.6 25.7 -3.5 7.7



ZIMMERMAN
IP GS FIP FB VELO COMMAND SWING & MISS H MOVEMENT V MOVEMENT
BEFORE 3.59 93.1 3.2 18.3 -4.6 10.0
RETURN 31 7 5.85 92.2 2.7 13.1 -5.5 9.5
RETURN+1 161.3 26 3.16 93.3 4.0 16.5 -5.3 8.0



STRASBURG
IP GS FIP FB VELO COMMAND SWING & MISS H MOVEMENT V MOVEMENT
BEFORE 2.08 97.6 5.4 27.5 -5.9 7.8
RETURN 24 5 1.28 96.0 12.0 23.2 -5.5 8.9



Armed with the above data, project away for what we could reasonably expect from Matsuzaka:

MATSUZAKA
IP GS FIP FB VELO COMMAND SWING & MISS H MOVEMENT V MOVEMENT
BEFORE 4.34 91.1 1.5 17.3 -6.4 8.2


EDIT: Note that all of the data for Matsuzaka is an average of his brief 2011 season, and his 2010 season.

Edited by Hairps, 20 April 2012 - 12:23 PM.


#2 SoxScout


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Posted 26 January 2012 - 02:53 AM

Just wanted to acknowledge this, awesome information. yakyubaka.com, which is pretty awesome, actually had some info from the Japan media tonight:

According to Sponichi and Nikkan Sports, Boston Red Sox rehab coordinator Chip Simpson told reporters that Daisuke Matsuzaka could toss a bullpen session some time next week. Matsuzaka is able to play catch on flat ground at a max distance of about 50 meters with his partner squatting. When he tosses a bullpen session will likely be determined after he begins mixing in off-speed pitches.



#3 DanoooME


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Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:39 AM

What worries me about Dice-K is that his command wasn't the best before he got hurt. I suppose that could be a function of the injury, but it's more likely given all of the anguish we've had about his starts over the years that there's something else going on causing the problem. When he comes back, there is a real possibility his command is worse right away and that could turn him into Steve Blass. And a (for example) 1.0 K/BB with 7 BB/9 isn't something you can experiment with at the major league level.

It's nice that he seems ahead of schedule and given the current state of the rotation that we're looking forward to him coming back, but there is a very real possibility that he still has a long road ahead of him to be useful to the 2012 Red Sox. The rule of thumb is that command is the last thing to come back after the surgery (although 2 of the 3 examples above seem to contradict that), so I wish we had more data to look at.

Hairps, what do RETURN and RETURN +1 in the last section represent? Different seasons (for example Strasburg doesn't have a RETURN +1 yet because he just came back in 2011)? Just wanted to be clear on that.

#4 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:03 AM

What worries me about Dice-K is that his command wasn't the best before he got hurt. I suppose that could be a function of the injury, but it's more likely given all of the anguish we've had about his starts over the years that there's something else going on causing the problem. When he comes back, there is a real possibility his command is worse right away and that could turn him into Steve Blass. And a (for example) 1.0 K/BB with 7 BB/9 isn't something you can experiment with at the major league level.

It's nice that he seems ahead of schedule and given the current state of the rotation that we're looking forward to him coming back, but there is a very real possibility that he still has a long road ahead of him to be useful to the 2012 Red Sox. The rule of thumb is that command is the last thing to come back after the surgery (although 2 of the 3 examples above seem to contradict that), so I wish we had more data to look at.

Hairps, what do RETURN and RETURN +1 in the last section represent? Different seasons (for example Strasburg doesn't have a RETURN +1 yet because he just came back in 2011)? Just wanted to be clear on that.

I'd wager that DiceK's control issues were a direct result of the elbow injury. Let's not confuse his nibbling tendencies with control problems.

I think RETURN is the season in which the player returned, and RETURN+1 includes the full season following his return. Strasberg doesn't have a RETURN+1 because he only came back last September.

#5 Hairps

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:00 AM

Hairps, what do RETURN and RETURN +1 in the last section represent? Different seasons (for example Strasburg doesn't have a RETURN +1 yet because he just came back in 2011)? Just wanted to be clear on that.


Yep, that's what that means. RETURN is the first season after surgery, RETURN+1 is the next, and so on.

It's almost impossible not to cherry pick when looking for comps no matter what you try to do, but I thought the three most recent starters who underwent TJ and returned was at least a reasonable place to start.

Edited by Hairps, 26 January 2012 - 10:41 AM.


#6 nvalvo


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Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:29 PM

What worries me about Dice-K is that his command wasn't the best before he got hurt. I suppose that could be a function of the injury, but it's more likely given all of the anguish we've had about his starts over the years that there's something else going on causing the problem. When he comes back, there is a real possibility his command is worse right away and that could turn him into Steve Blass. And a (for example) 1.0 K/BB with 7 BB/9 isn't something you can experiment with at the major league level.


Sure, but Matsuzaka's been successful with a K/BB well under 2.0 in the past. I just keep coming back to the statistical outlier that was his 2008 season. It fascinates me — it was so wrong that he kept that up for a whole season, but he did it. And that makes me wonder if trading walks for hits is actually a skill he has. I think it shows that if his stuff comes back such that he can suppress his hit rate (as when he led the league in H/9 in 2008) he can be successful even with dodgy command and a very high walk rate, basically by giving up very few hits and striking out a lot of guys.

Probably not as successful as he was, mind you. In 2008, his shiny ERA was pretty clearly the effect of his otherworldly strand rate, but it was still a very solid season. He gave up a .321 OBP and a .324 SLG, basically turning all opposing hitters into Nick Punto's career line (.325/.327) — and did that with a BB/9 of 5! He struck out 22 percent of his batters faced, walked 13 percent, and only allowed 18% to record hits.


Here are the starting pitchers since 2000 who have had seasons with better H/9:


Josh Beckett, 2011
AJ Burnett, 2002
Roger Clemens, 2005
Ubaldo Jimenez, 2010
Randy Johnson, 2001, 2002, and 2004
Clayton Kershaw, 2009 and 2011
Tim Lincecum, 2009
Derek Lowe, 2002
Pedro Martinez, 2000 and 2002
Jake Peavey, 2007
Oliver Perez, 2004
Jonathan Sanchez, 2010
Johan Santana, 2004
Jason Schmidt, 2003 and 2004
Justin Verlander, 2011
Tim Wakefield, 2002
Kerry Wood, 2001 and 2003
Chris Young, 2006 and 2007
Carlos Zambrando, 2005 and 2006

Now, Matsuzaka's closest comp on that list is Jonathan Sanchez, but I think all of us would be pretty psyched to pick up Sanchez at the deadline to be the fourth or fifth starter.

Edited by nvalvo, 26 January 2012 - 12:30 PM.


#7 Buzzkill Pauley


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Posted 26 January 2012 - 01:00 PM

The thing I wonder about is how long he's been nursing the injury prior to surgery.

We saw last year that Lackey could pitch (horribly) with an elbow that needed TJS pretty for six months. We heard that Matsuzaka was suffering from elbow issues as far back as 2009. If Matsuzaka could return to his 2007-08 aggregate results as a result of this surgery, I couldn't care less if he kept nibbling.

#8 Sausage in Section 17


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Posted 26 January 2012 - 01:22 PM

The thing I wonder about is how long he's been nursing the injury prior to surgery.

We saw last year that Lackey could pitch (horribly) with an elbow that needed TJS pretty for six months.


As I recall the info being put out at the time they announced Lackey's surgery was that they didn't have clear evidence that he had blown out his tendon, but that the combination of his suckitude and elbow discomfort led to the Sox convincing him to get it, as the only other scenario that might explain his decline was that he'd simply lost it for good.

With Dice-K I am hoping/expecting that he'll have the more recent typical bounce back from this surgery that we have seen from many others. I'll be holding my breath when Lackey comes back.

#9 smastroyin


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Posted 26 January 2012 - 02:38 PM

I think the concerns about his performance are valid but a bit off the mark. I think there is little chance he gets to be the guy that we were hoping for. But, will he be better than Doubront, Weiland, et al, for the stretch run? I think he can be. Even mediocre Matsuzaka would have helped the Red Sox last September.

#10 Hairps

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 12:08 PM

FWIW, some more data on how recent MLB starters have performed after returning from Tommy John.

Below is a look at all starters who underwent Tommy John surgery since 2007 who had logged at least one MLB inning prior to surgery, and who went on to pitch again in MLB. If you know of anyone else who is missing, please let me know. Same goes for anything that looks wrong.

The quality and availability of the data is a function of pitch fx. As always, small sample sizes and selection biases apply:


Fastball Velocity
PLAYER TJ DATE NEXT START velo before velo after after+1 after+2 after+3
Milton, Eric 20070615 701 *** 88.4
Carpenter, Chris 20070724 372 *** 92.1 93.2 91.6 91.9
Johnson, Josh 20070803 342 93.1 93.1 94.9 94.7 94
Capuano, Chris 20080515 749 87.9 87.6 87.6 87.6
Hudson, Tim 20080808 389 90.9 90.6 90.8 90.1
Garcia, Jaime 20080908 579 89.7 90 89.1
Marcum, Shaun 20080930 552 87.3 86.9 86.8
Litsch, Jesse 20090417 422 89.8 89.6 88.9
Volquez, Edinson 20090803 348 93.6 93.8 93.4
Zimmerman, Jordan 20090819 372 93.1 92.2 93.3
Strasburg, Stephen 20100903 368 97.6 96



Command (K/BB)
PLAYER TJ NEXT START cmnd before cmnd after after+1 after+2 after+3
Milton, Eric 20070615 701 2.1 3.3
Carpenter, Chris 20070724 372 4.2 1.8 3.8 2.8 3.5
Johnson, Josh 20070803 342 2.1 2.9 3.3 3.9 2.8
Capuano, Chris 20080515 749 2.4 2.6 3.2
Hudson, Tim 20080808 389 2.3 2.3 1.9 2.8
Garcia, Jaime 20080908 579 1.0 2.1 3.1
Marcum, Shaun 20080930 552 2.5 3.8 2.8
Litsch, Jesse 20090417 422 2.7 1.1 2.4
Volquez, Edinson 20090803 348 1.9 1.5 1.6
Zimmerman, Jordan 20090819 372 3.2 2.7 4.0
Strasburg, Stephen 20100903 368 5.4 12.0



"Stuff" (Batters' Swing & Miss %)
PLAYER TJ NEXT START s&m before s&m after after+1 after+2 after+3
Milton, Eric 20070615 701 *** 19.4
Carpenter, Chris 20070724 372 *** 14.8 20.4 19.6 20.4
Johnson, Josh 20070803 342 *** 19.8 20.3 25.3 19.7
Capuano, Chris 20080515 749 *** 21.1 23.5
Hudson, Tim 20080808 389 21.4 19.8 16.8 20.4
Garcia, Jaime 20080908 579 13.7 23.1 23.3
Marcum, Shaun 20080930 552 22.6 24.0 22.7
Litsch, Jesse 20090417 422 15.3 15.8 22.3
Volquez, Edinson 20090803 348 24.4 29.9 25.7
Zimmerman, Jordan 20090819 372 18.3 13.1 16.5
Strasburg, Stephen 20100903 368 27.5 23.2


#11 Hairps

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:37 PM

Speier with a Matsuzaka update:

Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a bullpen session off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June. Matsuzaka threw off the mound 21 times, with his first 10 tosses coming with a catcher standing in front of home plate and his last 10 being pitches with the catcher crouching behind the plate.


"Today is like a warm-up," Matsuzaka told reporters. "I think I'll throw harder next week."

http://www.weei.com/...ka-throws-mound

I don't know enough about the rehab jargon to know if all "bullpen sessions" are created equal, but again going back to the timelines of Volquez, Zimmermann and Strasburg for the sake of comparison:

DAYS BETWEEN TJ AND FIRST BULLPEN SESSION
SURGERY DATE DAYS TO FIRST BULLPEN
VOLQUEZ 20090803 227
ZIMMERMANN 20090819 215
STRASBURG 20100903 262
MATSUZAKA 20110610 232


And, tacking on the previous data...

DAYS BETWEEN ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT DATES
SURGERY DATE DAYS TO FIRST BULLPEN DAYS TO FIRST REHAB START DAYS TO FIRST MLB
VOLQUEZ 20090803 227 324 348
ZIMMERMANN 20090819 215 317 372
STRASBURG 20100903 262 328 368
MATSUZAKA 20110610 232


...we can break down the length between steps into smaller pieces:

MORE DAYS BETWEEN DETAILS
DAYS BTWN BULLPEN & REHAB DAYS BTWN FIRST REHAB & MLB DAYS BTWN BULLPEN & MLB
VOLQUEZ 97 24 121
ZIMMERMANN 102 55 157
STRASBURG 66 40 106


We could also now take those smaller pieces and mix-and-match to come up with an additional range of dates on which we might reasonably hope for Matsuzaka to return (again, based solely on the Volquez, Zimmermann, and Strasburg experiences). I've got no charting skills, so this might be a little bit hard to decipher, but the idea is to take all of the various parts from above, and add them together in a mix-and-match fashion, as such (think of the below as a grid):

ADDING DIFFERENT PARTS TOGETHER
DAYS BTWN REHAB & MLB DAYS BTWN REHAB & MLB DAYS BTWN REHAB & MLB
24 40 55
DAYS BTWN BP & REHAB 102 126 142 157
DAYS BTWN BP & REHAB 97 121 137 152
DAYS BTWN BP & REHAB 66 90 106 121


Alas, we can use the ranges above and tack each onto Matsuzaka's bullpen session date yesterday to come up with another range of return dates, presented in the same fashion as above (think of the below as a grid):

YET ANOTHER RANGE OF DATES FOR MATSUZAKA'S RETURN
4-Jun 20-Jun 5-Jul
30-May 15-Jun 30-Jun
29-Apr 15-May 30-May


Based on the data in the initial post, simply matching up Matsuzaka's timeline to those of Volquez, Zimmermann and Strasburg yields a potential return date range of between May 23 and June 16. By breaking each of those timetables further down into their component parts and working forward from Matsuzaka's Monday bullpen session gives a broader potential range of return dates, from between April 29 and July 5.

#12 Buzzkill Pauley


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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:16 PM

It's probably not going to be a popular opinion either in the media at large or on this board (certainly getting a shiny new toy would be more fun). But still, even just at his career average 6 IP/GS at 4.25 ERA, getting Matsuzaka back to pitch as the #4 SP for 140 IP would be a great thing for the back of the rotation and give the team all the more reason not to try overextending Bard beyond a reasonable innings limit.

#13 nvalvo


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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:53 PM

So what do those dates mean? I looked at his healthy seasons for comparisons.

In 2007, Matsuzaka threw 27 starts for 171 IP after April 29, 19 starts for 119 IP after June 15, and 15 starts for 90 IP after July 5.
In 2008, Matsuzaka threw 23 starts for 139 IP after April 29, 18 starts for 108 IP after June 15, and 15 starts for 92 IP after July 5.

He missed most of June with injury in 2008.

I think we'd be very lucky to get 140 IP from him, but even 120 would be a very meaningful contribution.

#14 Carl Everetts Therapist


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Posted 31 January 2012 - 07:23 PM

Acoording to Kyoto news, Dice-K threw a limited bullpen session today... this makes him more than a month ahead of schedule.


I think a MAY return cannot be ruled out.... I'd give him plenty of extended Spring training and minor league work before even thinking about adding him to the Boston rotation.

If the sox sign Jackson, Dice-K gives you some quality insurance against an injury to the big 3 or Bard's inneffectiveness as a starter.

Edited by Carl Everetts Therapist, 31 January 2012 - 07:23 PM.


#15 Hairps

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 04:23 PM

The Boston Red Sox's Daisuke Matsuzaka suffered no setbacks on his comeback trail Wednesday, a day after his first bullpen session since undergoing season-ending elbow surgery last summer.

"The work was light, so there are no problems at all," said Matsuzaka, who threw from 20 meters on this day. "I don't feel any stiffness."

Tuesday's session was the 31-year-old Matsuzaka's first since having Tommy John surgery last June. He will throw again on Friday but made it clear he's far from returning to the mound.


http://mdn.mainichi....0sp134000c.html

#16 Hairps

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:48 PM

Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed his second bullpen session on February 3 (February 4 in Japan) -- twenty pitches to a catcher that squatted in front of the home plate.

"While I threw at about 70% last time, this time I tried to throw as hard as I could. I am glad that I was able to throw at close to 90%," said Matsuzaka. "A part of me is still holding back. I want to continue examining my mechanics moving forward."


http://yakyubaka.com...-hiroki-sanada/

Edited by Hairps, 05 February 2012 - 12:48 PM.


#17 Jnai


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Posted 05 February 2012 - 01:55 PM

Here is something I never noticed:

Almost all of DiceK's curviest curves came in the 2011 Season:
Yellow here:
Posted Image

All the yellow is at the end, here:


Posted Image


I wonder if the attempt to throw the harder, more well-spun curve was part of the issue, or a symptom of pain/changes prior to surgery.

#18 Sprowl


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Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:15 PM

Almost all of DiceK's curviest curves came in the 2011 Season:

...

I wonder if the attempt to throw the harder, more well-spun curve was part of the issue, or a symptom of pain/changes prior to surgery.


Just before DiceK went on the DL in 2008 with shoulder soreness, he had been throwing a large number of sharp-breaking slurves (the movement was more horizontal, with little vertical drop). The pitch had been working very well that season, but I remember thinking at the time that he might have overdone it. Whether snapping off a breaking pitch puts more strain on the elbow or the shoulder is hard to pin down.

It looks like there might be a classification issue with DiceK's breaking pitches. No sliders show up at all during 2012 -- all the slurves are classified as curveballs (24% of all pitches in 2012). In prior years, most of the slurves are classified as sliders (25% of all pitches in 2008), and only a few slow breaking pitches are called true curves. Was there a change in manual classification standards between the 2011 and 2012 years?

#19 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:41 PM

Bobby Valentine was quoted, right after the Sox signed Matsuzaka, that he thought Dice K would be successful if in MLB if they let him pitch his way. I'll be very curious to see if he handles him any differently from the Tito and Farrell did.

#20 Kid T

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:04 AM

Bobby Valentine was quoted, right after the Sox signed Matsuzaka, that he thought Dice K would be successful if in MLB if they let him pitch his way. I'll be very curious to see if he handles him any differently from the Tito and Farrell did.


I'm interested as well. If I recall correctly, he surmised that Tito and Farrell were pushing him to pitch the American way (establish the fastball first). Whereas Matsuzaka's style in Japan was to establish his breaking ball first.

#21 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:55 AM

Considering Matsuzaka is coming off of injury, and in the last year of his contract, it wouldn't surprise me if they let him do whatever he wants. Kind of a (pardon the expression) Damn the Torpedoes concept. Downside for the team is minimal if something goes wrong

#22 Hairps

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 08:15 AM

2/9/12:

Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed a ten-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday (Wednesday in Japan). It was his third since his surgery.

http://yakyubaka.com...-hideki-matsui/

2/12/12:

Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed his fourth bullpen session (Friday or Saturday) -- ten pitches to a standing catcher and fifteen pitches to a squatting catcher.

http://yakyubaka.com...ima-yu-darvish/

#23 redsoxstiff


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Posted 14 February 2012 - 10:00 AM

I don't care when Dice-k takes the ball for true...I am very concerned that he has had plenty time to acclimate himself to us and pitching here...I hope he has enough skill and physical talent to at least be an adequate #4...but as my sweet mummie used to say ...You can shit in one hand and wish in the other and see which gets full the fastest...

#24 Hairps

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 09:44 AM

2/15/12:

Daisuke Matsuzaka threw twenty pitches, all fastballs, in the bullpen on Tuesday.

Matsuzaka also sat down with pitching coach Bob McClure and decided he will begin regular, but modified, workouts with the other pitchers.

http://yakyubaka.com...to-koji-uehara/

#25 Carl Everetts Therapist


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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:39 AM

One of the more difficult questions becomes : What if Dice-Kay has a lights out (albeit shortened) healthy season... Maybe all thee years he has been hampered by a cranky elbow and he really is the pitcher we throught we were getting (95ish fastball etc.)

Do you look at a contract?

Obviously if he is anything short of fabulous you let him walk, but what if he is dominant?

#26 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:49 AM

One of the more difficult questions becomes : What if Dice-Kay has a lights out (albeit shortened) healthy season... Maybe all thee years he has been hampered by a cranky elbow and he really is the pitcher we throught we were getting (95ish fastball etc.)

Do you look at a contract?

Obviously if he is anything short of fabulous you let him walk, but what if he is dominant?

IMO, he doesn't have to be dominant/fabulous to consider bringing him back. If he comes back and gives them better than league average, I think you have to consider keeping him around. But I think the decision will depend on the development of Bard or the prospects as much, if not more than Matsuzaka's performance.

The 2013 rotation as of now looks like Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Lackey and Bard. If Bard looks like a keeper, I think Matsuzaka would have to be fabulous/dominant in order for them to work hard to keep him around. But if Bard is still a question mark, or a more viable candidate to be a swing guy/6th starter type (insurance against Lackey not coming back healthy, for example), a fair money, short-term deal to a solid, league average DiceK isn't unreasonable to fill the back end of the rotation.

#27 dynomite

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 11:50 AM

Obviously if he is anything short of fabulous you let him walk, but what if he is dominant?


What a terrible problem to have...

At this point, I'm more interested in his progress. With so many unanswered questions in our rotation and bullpen, I'm eager to see Dice-K face live batters and throw his full array of pitches.

Hairps, when would you expect simulated games to begin? A few weeks, or over a month?

#28 C4CRVT

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 11:56 AM

There are a few too many whatifs at this point to have a substantial discussion on re-signing Daisuke at this point IMO.

Besides, I doubt he has warm fuzzy feelings for this team and fanbase.

#29 Shelterdog


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Posted 15 February 2012 - 11:57 AM

What a terrible problem to have...

At this point, I'm more interested in his progress. With so many unanswered questions in our rotation and bullpen, I'm eager to see Dice-K face live batters and throw his full array of pitches.

Hairps, when would you expect simulated games to begin? A few weeks, or over a month?


He'll be 32, coming off of TJ surgery, and coming off of a fluke season. Bye bye.

#30 Buzzkill Pauley


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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:35 PM

Besides, I doubt he has warm fuzzy feelings for this team and fanbase.


Yeah, getting booed off the mound when he's tried to pitch through elbow pain probably won't endear "the Fenway Faithful" to him.

#31 Hairps

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:31 PM

when would you expect simulated games to begin? A few weeks, or over a month?


I have no idea, of course, but we can at least look again to Volquez, Zimmermann, and Strasburg's timelines as guide posts:

Days from TJ to Simulated Games
PLAYER TJ Surgery to BP BP to SimGame
Volquez 20090803 227 55
Zimmermann 20090819 215 88
Strasburg 20100903 262 56
Matsuzaka 20110610 232


So, pulling the days it took each of those three to move from BP sessions to the simulated game environment (55, 56, and 88 days), and adding in the average of those (66) for good measure, we could work from Matsuzaka's first bullpen session date (1/31/12) and come up with the following dates for a possible next step to simulated games:

1/31/12 + 55 days: March 26
1/31/12 + 56 days: March 27
1/31/12 + 66 days: April 6
1/31/12 + 88 days: April 28

All of the same cautions apply, not the least of which is that I just realized when I was counting days between, sometimes I would include the beginning/end dates in the count, and sometimes I wouldn't, shifting things around by a day or two.

#32 dynomite

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:48 PM

1/31/12 + 55 days: March 26
1/31/12 + 56 days: March 27
1/31/12 + 66 days: April 6
1/31/12 + 88 days: April 28

All of the same cautions apply, not the least of which is that I just realized when I was counting days between, sometimes I would include the beginning/end dates in the count, and sometimes I wouldn't, shifting things around by a day or two.


Thanks for doing this (you've done great work in this thread).

Under those first 2 scenarios (3/26 and 3/27), he'd be throwing simulated games by the end of camp, meaning Valentine and McClure (and Sox reporters) would still be in Florida and presumably able to evaluate his progress first-hand.

#33 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 15 February 2012 - 03:48 PM

And yet all the articles say he'll be back "after the All Star Game". Are they lowering expectations? And if so, is this for the fans? Or for their attempts to acquire alternatives?

#34 TheYellowDart5


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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:16 PM

Bobby V (through Pete Abe) says that Matsuzaka won't pitch this spring:

Apparently they didn't invent a new magic Tommy John surgery as Matsuzaka and Hill won't pitch this spring.


https://twitter.com/#!/PeteAbe/status/171702990472884224
link to tweet
link to tweet

#35 Carl Everetts Therapist


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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:24 PM

Saw a video clip of Dice-K throwing and he looked absolutely fantastic... It's in one of the Globe ST reports. He is throwing at looks like 75% to a catcher off flat ground, but he looks like he was really cranking up the velocity. I couldn't believe how "in shape" he looked compared to how he had looked last year (bigger).

#36 Kull


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Posted 21 February 2012 - 11:54 PM

There are a few too many whatifs at this point to have a substantial discussion on re-signing Daisuke at this point IMO.

Besides, I doubt he has warm fuzzy feelings for this team and fanbase.


That's been the gospel for a while now, but there's a new factor to consider. One has to wonder whether DiceK's calculus changes when he has the chance to pitch for a relentlessly positive manager who's fluent in Japanese. Probably like most, I assumed that Valentine's alleged linguistic skills were largely a product of media hype, but not so. This clip from the "Zen of BobbyV" proves it - in particular the section from @ 2:30 on where he's interacting with a large group of Japanese women. (loved the "50? I thought she was 15" comment). Let's just hope that v.2012 Matsuzaka is worth keeping.

Edited by Kull, 21 February 2012 - 11:55 PM.


#37 Carl Everetts Therapist


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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:14 PM

saw this in Ken Rosenthal's report on Bobby V's impressive first day at Camp..

by 10am, he is engaged in his first unusual activity of the day — a game of catch with Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Japanese photographers race to capture the moment — Valentine, of course, managed in Japan in 1995 and from 2004 to ’09.
“It was my first time playing catch with my manager since becoming a professional,” Matsuzaka says through his interpreter. “I was very nervous at the beginning.”
“That I would miss the ball?” Valentine later replies.
The game of catch appears to be either a classic Valentine attention grabber, or perhaps an attempt to connect with Matsuzaka, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery.


Just filling in while Matsuzaka’s interpreter stood near the pitcher with Sox assistant pitching coach Randy Niemann, relaying suggestions on mechanics.

At various points during the workout, Valentine adopts a more serious pose in the bullpen, standing in the right-handed batter’s box against various Sox pitchers, some of whom are quite young.
The idea is for him to get a sense of each pitcher’s stuff, and it is not without risk.
“The most important thing is to not hit him,” Matsuzaka says. “I’m sure they were a little worried about that.”
No one hits Valentine. He rarely sees more than three or four pitches. And he is moving too fast.


Edited by Carl Everetts Therapist, 22 February 2012 - 05:15 PM.


#38 redsahx

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:34 PM

I keep coming back to two dominant starts Dice-K had last spring right before his injury. One in which he threw 7 shutout innings against the Blue Jays (allowing one hit) and then an 8-inning three-hit performance the following start against the Angels. In that Angels game, Dice-K's posture and tempo (and overall body language) on the mound was different. He actually looked like the pitcher we saw in all that footage from Japan. He worked more quickly and just seemed confident and in total command. I'm guessing he overthrew a bit in those games though and it was the final straw that led to the elbow injury.

I am very intrigued to see how Bobby V uses him. One of the more annoying pieces of talk radio conventional wisdom we get treated to is how much of a bust Dice-K has been. People forget the fact that we could have had Barry Zito or Jason Schmidt instead. In 07 and 08 he was a major contributor, and it was the WBC in 2009 which was the turning point. I imagine when Dice-K does come back, initially it will be treated with mockery and dread by the talking heads on WEEI and 98.5, which is unfortunate. I think Dice-K can provide a big boost in the second half.

#39 Hairps

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 02:39 PM

from today's SoSH chat with Cherington:

Daisuke is doing very well and progressing in his rehab. He's been throwing off a mound for some time now. We expect he'll be facing hitters by the end of the spring and we'll then build his pitch count up in April and May. We're not going to put a timeline on it but we are optimistic he will be able to help us by mid-season. We'll see where we are when Daisuke is closer to returning to the Majors but inevitably there will be a need for a pitcher at some point and Daisuke is working very hard to put himself in a position to help us.


http://sonsofsamhorn...ost__p__4004874

#40 Tokyo Sox


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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:35 AM

That's been the gospel for a while now, but there's a new factor to consider. One has to wonder whether DiceK's calculus changes when he has the chance to pitch for a relentlessly positive manager who's fluent in Japanese. Probably like most, I assumed that Valentine's alleged linguistic skills were largely a product of media hype, but not so. This clip


I also assumed that it was media hype...and your clip largely proves that it is. He would appear to understand it quite well -- certainly more so than I anticipated -- but his speaking is just not fluent by any stretch. The translations into English make him sound very smooth (though he actually said 16, not 15), but in Japanese it's just not the same. I think he probably meant what the translation (nearly) said, but all it sounds like he actually said in Japanese was "juurokusai to, tabun, ne" or "Probably, uh, 16". He speaks in fragments and very basic vocabulary and mixes in a lot of affected ohhs & ahhhsohhs. There is no way he is going to have a prolonged conversation with Daisuke about anything meaningful. We may never know, but if there is a situation where Bobby has to visit Daisuke on the mound, I'm betting the trainer is involved too. I don't think the math changes from that standpoint at all.

Whether Bobby lets him pitch more "his way" could be a different story though.

#41 TomRicardo


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Posted 09 March 2012 - 12:32 PM

I also assumed that it was media hype...and your clip largely proves that it is. He would appear to understand it quite well -- certainly more so than I anticipated -- but his speaking is just not fluent by any stretch. The translations into English make him sound very smooth (though he actually said 16, not 15), but in Japanese it's just not the same. I think he probably meant what the translation (nearly) said, but all it sounds like he actually said in Japanese was "juurokusai to, tabun, ne" or "Probably, uh, 16". He speaks in fragments and very basic vocabulary and mixes in a lot of affected ohhs & ahhhsohhs. There is no way he is going to have a prolonged conversation with Daisuke about anything meaningful. We may never know, but if there is a situation where Bobby has to visit Daisuke on the mound, I'm betting the trainer is involved too. I don't think the math changes from that standpoint at all.

Whether Bobby lets him pitch more "his way" could be a different story though.


My friend worked on the Bobby V documentary as a translator said he was surprised with Valentine's Japanese.

#42 SMU_Sox


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Posted 09 March 2012 - 12:33 PM

My friend worked on the Bobby V documentary as a translator said he was surprised with Valentine's Japanese.


In a good or bad way?

#43 TomRicardo


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Posted 09 March 2012 - 03:01 PM

In a good or bad way?


good.

#44 Tokyo Sox


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Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:20 PM

Again, his listening comprehension is surprisingly good, but the speaking just doesn't appear to be there.

What he meant --> what he said:
sugokattane --> sogoikattane
arigatou gozaimashita --> yarigato jamashita
high tachhi --> high tacchu

...et cetera. It doesn't look like much of a difference but we're talking really basic conjugations and vocab. My guess is that for the most part he still thinks in English and then tries to translate that into Japanese. That's the kind of approach that gives you the very unnatural "tanoshinde kudasai" at the end of the exchange with the birthday picture crew.

Look don't get me wrong, the amount he knows is fairly impressive, and this is a very minor point in the greater discussion, but I'm just saying I don't think his language abilities are at a level where he becomes Daisuke's best friend and the whole "calculus changes." Maybe his Japan background and his willingness to let Daisuke do things his own way will indeed effect that math. Who knows.

And of course in the interests of fairness it's a very small sample size, and it's not like he acquits himself particularly well in English in that video, either. "I wonder if this is the tree garden...where they have the flowering tree garden...look at that tree!"

#45 sachilles


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Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:07 AM

I'm sure if you don't stay well practiced, there can be a fair amount of rust. Even he can't speak well, at leasty being able to comprehend the basics, is a step in the right direction.

#46 kazuneko

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:55 AM

Again, his listening comprehension is surprisingly good, but the speaking just doesn't appear to be there.

What he meant --> what he said:
sugokattane --> sogoikattane
arigatou gozaimashita --> yarigato jamashita
high tachhi --> high tacchu

...et cetera. It doesn't look like much of a difference but we're talking really basic conjugations and vocab. My guess is that for the most part he still thinks in English and then tries to translate that into Japanese. That's the kind of approach that gives you the very unnatural "tanoshinde kudasai" at the end of the exchange with the birthday picture crew.

Look don't get me wrong, the amount he knows is fairly impressive, and this is a very minor point in the greater discussion, but I'm just saying I don't think his language abilities are at a level where he becomes Daisuke's best friend and the whole "calculus changes." Maybe his Japan background and his willingness to let Daisuke do things his own way will indeed effect that math. Who knows.

Yeah...I had also thought that Bobby's Japanese fluency was probably overhyped - though I still expected better than what you see in that clip. I'm also not even sure if you can judge his listening comprehension -at least from that clip- as in any way impressive. Its a pretty simple conversation and his response is pretty limited. Its not that hard to give appropriate non-verbals and pretend you understand. It does seem like he understood that it was one of the women's birthday and that she was 50 - but all you really would need for that is a few basic vocabulary words. Honestly, even for a small sample that really was pretty disappointing...
That said, it is important to realize that the clip comes from 2007. He was in Japan with Lotte for two more years after that, so its conceivable he could have ended up far more fluent than what we see in this clip. It would be interesting to see a more recent -and longer- clip of him speaking...

Edited by kazuneko, 10 March 2012 - 11:33 AM.


#47 Kull


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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:16 PM

Look don't get me wrong, the amount he knows is fairly impressive, and this is a very minor point in the greater discussion, but I'm just saying I don't think his language abilities are at a level where he becomes Daisuke's best friend and the whole "calculus changes." Maybe his Japan background and his willingness to let Daisuke do things his own way will indeed effect that math. Who knows.


Having a manager who speaks even limited Japanese, plus the added experience of actually managing in Japan for a few years, does, hopefully provide an additional comfort level. If ever a guy has looked like "square peg, round hole" it's been Matsuzaka in Boston.

Also, many thanks to you and Kazuneko - having members who also speak Japanese definitely adds a lot more understanding to what I thought I was witnessing on that clip. To his credit, Valentine tends to downplay his linguistic abilities - apparently with good reason.

#48 TomRicardo


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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:41 AM

I mean this isn't Dave Roberts we are talking about. Valentine's Japanese is good for a man who didn't start learning the language until he was 45. I think that is what impressed my friend.

#49 SoxScout


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Posted 16 March 2012 - 01:54 PM

Posted Image
Source: random person on twitter

Dice is throwing his first live BP according to report Cafardo.

Edited by SoxScout, 16 March 2012 - 01:55 PM.


#50 kazuneko

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:55 AM

I mean this isn't Dave Roberts we are talking about. Valentine's Japanese is good for a man who didn't start learning the language until he was 45. I think that is what impressed my friend.

And your friend should have a broader perspective if he/she actually has been around him speaking Japanese. That said, "good for a man who started learning at 45" could be the type of faint praise that effectively means "not very good at all". Of course, all I've seen is a that brief clip - which wasn't very impressive - but is also 5 years old and barely a minute or two.

Edited by kazuneko, 17 March 2012 - 10:56 AM.