ST. PETERSBURG -- Daisuke Matsuzaka took a break from the monotony of his rehab in Fort Myers, Fla., and took the near two-hour drive to visit his teammates at Tropicana Field.
The righty recently underwent Tommy John surgery and won't be able to pitch again until, at the earliest, the second half of 2011.
"It's almost the same routine every day. So I would say that sometimes it's kind of boring," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Kenta Yamada. "Usually, I start off at 8:30 in the morning and finish around 3 in the afternoon. I was doing exercises to regain my range of motion. This week, I started core exercises as well as lower-body exercises."
Matsuzaka is encouraged by his recovery and has used Red Sox Minor Leaguer Junichi Tazawa, who had Tommy John Surgery last year, as a measuring stick.
"According to my physical therapist, it's going up really well, as far as my range of motion," Matsuzaka said. "Taz did the same thing last year, and as far as the physical therapist looks at it, my recovery process is four weeks earlier compared to Taz. So it's gone smoother. I've regained my range of motion almost fully."
Were there any surprises when Dr. Lewis Yocum performed the surgery?
"One thing the doctors were surprised about is that, when the doctor opened up my elbow, the ligament was completely torn," Matsuzaka said. "The damage was worse than expected."
Matsuzaka misses being around the team but thinks the isolation is probably better for his recovery.
"The first thing I always pay attention to is what the team is doing," Matsuzaka said. "When I see the players playing well, I tend to be in a hurry to get back to the team. It's kind of nice to stay away from the team and focus on what I have to do on the rehabilitation."