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Matsuzaka set for rehab assignment

Kyodo

Boston Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will start a rehab assignment on Monday with a minor-league affiliate in Salem, the club said Friday.

The 31-year-old Matsuzaka, recovering since last June from Tommy John surgery, began throwing light bullpen sessions early this year and recently faced batters in an extended spring training game.

He is expected to throw about 75 pitches for the Single-A Salem club on Monday, and could get as many as five minor-league starts before his 30-day-maximum rehab assignment ends.

“Daisuke feels really good,” manager Bobby Valentine was quoted as saying in local media. “He’s ready to start dealing with competition rather than rehabilitation.”

As a major league rookie in 2007, Matsuzaka helped the Red Sox win their second World Series Championship in four seasons. He pitched in eight games last year before his elbow injury, going 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA.