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Dice, Dice baby: A Matsuzaka is born03/15/2008 6:26 PM ET
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Daisuke Matsuzaka became a father again on Saturday morning, and as a result, he is all but certain to be able to join the Red Sox during the season-opening trip to his native country of Japan.
With ace Josh Beckett (back spasms) not likely to be able to pitch, Matsuzaka now becomes a candidate to pitch the season opener against the Oakland Athletics on March 25 at Tokyo Dome. Matsuzaka is a virtual lock to pitch one of the two regular-season games in Tokyo.
However, the Red Sox won't outline their rotation plans until they have more communication with the pitchers involved.
All along, the Red Sox made it clear that Matsuzaka's family situation took precedence over his pitching schedule.
"From everything we understand, everybody is healthy, and that's good," said Sox manager Terry Francona. "I know that the Red Sox put out a press release and we'll kind of stick to the press release until we talk to Daisuke. Sometimes the family stuff is better left for them to handle. But we're real pleased that everybody is healthy."
E Matsuzaka's wife, Tomoyo, delivered the couple's second child -- and first boy -- at 7:30 ET on Saturday morning. Out of respect to the family's privacy, the Red Sox did not announce the name of the boy, but did reveal that he weighed in at six pounds, 10 ounces.
It is believed that the birth took place in Boston. Matsuzaka pitched an exhibition game for the Red Sox on Friday, Francona had given him a day off on Saturday, so the pitcher presumably was on hand for the birth.
Both child and mother are said to be doing well.
The Red Sox are under the impression that Matsuzaka will return to camp in a couple of days.
"We couldn't have scripted it any better," said Sox pitching coach John Farrell. "Someone was looking over he and his family. The most important thing, and our main concern when these things come up, is to make sure everyone is healthy, and that's the case."
Matsuzaka will pitch in Boston's Grapefruit League finale against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, the same day the team will depart for Tokyo.
"The birth of the child obviously gives him the opportunity now to go to Japan, and what game he'll pitch over there, as I mentioned, we have not established a [definitive] rotation for the two exhibitions or the two games against Oakland," said Farrell. "In due time, we'll have the ability to talk about that and map out what our rotation will be."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.