Dice-K cleared to face Rockies on Thursday

Dice-K cleared to face Rockies on Thursday

BOSTON -- Thanks to a successful three-inning simulated game on Saturday at Fenway Park, right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his return to the starting rotation Thursday against the Rockies at Coors Field.

During the session, Matsuzaka threw 49 pitches against hitters from the Independent League Brockton Rox.

"He felt really good and checked out fine," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Cause for concern over Matsuzaka's health came last Saturday, when he was scratched from a start against the Phillies due to a right forearm strain and placed on the disabled list.

Matsuzaka has chosen to look at his quick time on the DL as a brief rest, which he said has allowed him to be physically ready to make that next start.

"The decision that came from the coaching staff, or our decision came with my best interests in mind, and for that I am very appreciative to the coaching staff," Matsuzaka said through his interpreter. "And I think that's all the more reason that I'd really like to do well in my next outing."