Dice-K to have comfort level in Minors

Dice-K to have comfort level in Minors

CINCINNATI -- When Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his first rehab start Monday in Allentown, Pa., the Red Sox will make sure he feels comfortable.

The club is sending assistant athletic trainer Masai Takahashi, interpreter Takanori Maeda and massage therapist Masa Hoshino.

Matsuzaka will travel with the Red Sox from Cincinnati to Philadelphia. On Monday, he and his entourage will drive the 68 miles to Allentown, just an hour north of Philadelphia, and pitch against Lehigh Valley, the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate.

"We are going to send Masa, his interpreter, Maeda and Masai -- just so there's a comfort level," manager Terry Francona said. "And the reason we can do it, too, is because it's an hour away. You're not flying all over the country."

Matsuzaka is expected to make between 70-80 pitches for Triple-A Pawtucket, in his first rehab start since going on the 15-day disabled May 28 with a mild right rotator cuff strain.

"I don't know if there's a limit. It enters into it, but it's just sort of common sense," Francona said on Sunday. "The up and downs do have something to do with it. Five innings is probably in the area of what we're looking at. It's a transition start is what it is."

If all goes well, Matsuzaka would return to the Red Sox's rotation on Saturday and start against St. Louis at Fenway Park.

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.