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Dice-K begins early preparations

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Kyodo) Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said Thursday he was optimistic for a good season for Daisuke Matsuzaka as the right-hander began working out ahead of the official start of spring training for pitchers and catchers on Sunday.

Health, inconsistency, and control issues have all been problems during Matsuzaka’s major league career, which is now entering its fifth season, but Epstein appeared impressed with the results of the former Seibu Lions ace’s work during the offseason.

Looking tanned and healthy after spending the last month training in Hawaii, Matsuzaka was in high spirits as he went through a 25-minute workout at the Florida camp.

“This is the first time in a long while that I can begin the camp without any health concerns,” said Matsuzaka.