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Daisuke Matsuzaka has been penciled in to make his first start in a year for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in a preseason game next Wednesday.

Matsuzaka will join the first team on Friday and is expected to pitch around four innings against the Seibu Lions, just a day short of his last appearance 12 months ago, Hawks pitching coach Shinji Kurano said on Thursday.

The 35-year-old Matsuzaka has yet to pitch in a regular-season game with the first team since his return from the major leagues prior to last season. He had a right-shoulder operation in August.

“It’s positive just being able to pitch,” said Matsuzaka, who had a simulated game on Wednesday and said there was no problem with his shoulder.

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