Dice-K to take mound for PawSox on Saturday

Dice-K to take mound for PawSox on Saturday

BOSTON -- Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday in his latest rehab outing.

Manager Bobby Valentine said Matsuzaka's pitch limit would be about 90, depending on how his outing goes.

Matsuzaka began his rehab assignment on April 23. The latest possible date for him to pitch in the Minors is May 22, but Valentine believes the right-hander is close to pitching in the Major Leagues again.

"He's done everything except for stringing the innings together," Valentine said. "He's worked on all of his pitches. He's happy with his pitches, he's happy with his velocity, his strength, his ability to field, pitch out of the stretch, wind up.

"If there's a checklist, he's checked off a lot of those things. Now it's just stringing innings together."

Matsuzaka underwent Tommy John surgery on June 10, 2011. In three rehab starts, Matsuzaka has pitched 13 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on 11 hits with 14 strikeouts against five walks. His ERA is 2.70.