New Boston Star Pitcher Matsuzaka Makes Debut

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The Boston Red Sox played Boston College Friday in an exposition game that featured the first outing for newly acquired pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.


It was only an exhibition game during spring training, but for New England and Japanese baseball fans alike the stakes were much, much higher. Last night in Fort Meyers, Florida, Daisuke Matsuzaka stepped up to the mound. It was the eagerly awaited U.S. debut of the Japanese pitching phenom who cost the Boston Red Sox more than $100 million to acquire.

(Soundbite of game broadcast)

ANNOUNCER: And it is lying down the left field line. A fair ball. Ayers jumping on the first pitch. He's thinking two, and he heads to second base with a leadoff double.

NEARY: The pitch, a fastball traveling at 92 miles per hour, would terrify the average Joe. But Matsuzaka's opponent, college junior Johnny Ayers, was ready for it. He lined the fastball to left field for a double. Euphoria, he said, definitely euphoria.

Twenty-five pitches later, Matsuzaka was ready to take his bow. And by the end of the night, Sox fans and Matsuzaka watchers were cheering a 9-1 victory against the Boston college kids. Those unconvinced that the exhibition game was a fair fight can tune into Matsuzaka's major league debut - a spring training game against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday.

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