Mets RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka is still getting acclimated pitching in relief, he told reporter Mike Vorkunov (Star-Ledger, May 1).
“I feel more comfortable by taking my time and just doing things to be ready for an extended amount of time instead of going out there and throwing,” Matsuzaka told Vorkunov. “It’s something that’s tough to do rather than something I’m enjoying right now. I’m still trying to get used to it. I’m just trying to get into a rhythm.”
Matsuzaka has let up just one run in 7 2/3 innings (1.17 ERA) during six relief appearances this season, while striking out 11 of the 30 batters he’s faced.
He got his first big-league save last week, pitching a perfect ninth inning against the Cardinals.
Terry Collins has said Kyle Farnsworth is still his primary closer, despite Matsuzaka, Jose Valverde and Carlos Torres all having at least one save this season.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Apr. 25: Matsuzaka is tough minded, experienced, he loves baseball, he loves pitching, he loves the spotlight and he loves to be in pressurized moments. However, he also takes forever to warm up and he doesn’t always keep the ball in the strikezone. So, while he may have the mental make-up to pitch late in games, I’m concerned about his physical ability to keep succeeding in this role. I know bullpen coach Ricky Bones is working him on cutting down his 2-3 inning warm-up time, so that’s a start. He’s up to the challenge, I’m told. He’d prefer to be a starter, obviously, but more than anything he wants to be involved and play an important role in in the team’s success. So, so far so good…