"I think he is now in the same boat as everyone else," said Sox manager Terry Francona. "He is a Major League pitcher trying to get ready for the season. I did think he turned it up a notch his last time on the mound [in live batting practice]. You know he'll compete."
Matsuzaka won 15 games in his rookie year, posting a 4.40 ERA. The last time he pitched was Game 3 of the World Series, and he got the win.
This will just be a small tune-up, as Matsuzaka is expected to go two innings against the Twins.
As for the Boston bats, they were able to get tuned up against college competition. Now, they'll try and get their timing right against Boof Bonser, Joe Nathan, Phillip Humber, Kevin Slowey and other Minnesota pitchers.
"I think everybody is taking the same mind-set, it doesn't matter who we play," said Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "We're all trying to get ready for the season and get our ABs in, try to work on some things and go forward. That's it."
Francona loved the progression of his team being able to face college teams first, and then the Twins.
"I think it's great," Francona said. "This was a perfect way for us to start."
In the first Grapefruit League contest, the Red Sox will bring a very representative lineup.
Kevin Youkilis, Pedroia, Julio Lugo, Mike Lowell, Manny Ramirez, Coco Crisp and Bobby Kielty will all be in the lineup. Jason Varitek, Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew will stay back at City of Palms Park and work out.
This will be the first of three consecutive games between the Red Sox and Twins. The first two will be at Hammond Stadium, with the action switching to City of Palms Park on Sunday.