Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka made his return to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday after missing a year of Major League Baseball following right elbow reconstruction surgery.
Matsuzaka surrendered four runs on five hits while striking out eight batters and walking only one in five innings in his first start for the Red Sox since May 16, 2011, against Baltimore.
"Dice-K" began his sixth Major League Baseball season after some feared he might never pitch again.
Matsuzaka, who helped the Red Sox win the 2007 World Series in his first North American campaign, underwent "Tommy John" elbow reconstruction surgery on June 10 of last year to correct a torn right ulnar collateral ligament.
Boston signed a six-year deal with Matsuzaka after the 2006 campaign.
The Red Sox paid Matsuzaka's salary plus $51.1 million in negotiating rights to Japan's Seibu Lions in order to simply talk with the former Japan League star, a stalwart for two-time champion Japan in the World Baseball Classic.
Matsuzaka was 15-12 for Boston in 2007 and helped the Red Sox sweep Colorado to win the World Series. He followed in 2008 by going 18-3 with a 2.90 earned-run average.
But Matsuzaka went a combined 16-15 the past three seasons with a 5.03 earned-run average and nagging injury problems.
Source: AFP American Edition