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10/6/2011: Sponichi interviews Daisuke Matsuzaka

by on Oct.06, 2011 @ 8:10 pm, under MLB

Games from the 5th:

Arizona Diamondbacks 10 - Milwaukee Brewers 6
Takashi Saito entered the game in the bottom of the 8th, with the Brewers down 10-6, and tossed a shutout inning in relief.  Final line: 1 IP, 5 BF, 21-14 NP-S, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR.

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Sponichi has posted the following interview with Daisuke Matsuzaka:

You've finally made it back to the "start line."

I'm relieved that I was able to start throwing again as planned after getting through the workouts the trainer set up for me.  Junichi [Tazawa] told me that for him, it started with throwing about 15 baseball underhand.  Based on the things he told me, I think I'm making good progress.

Your first thoughts [on throwing].

It's the first time I thought that this was how if felt to throw the ball.  I didn't think I'd hesitate [before throwing the first baseball].  I was anxious about throwing the ball and I didn't want to do it in front of everyone.  That was something I haven't felt in a long time.

A lot of media were on hand.  Including fan reactions, what are your thoughts on the current situation?

I thought it was going to be a special day for me. It was able about the 2nd stage of rehab beginning.  And know there are are people out there that want to see my pitch on a major league mound again gives me the motivation I need to continue my rehab.

What do you remember of your surgery from 6/10.

I didn't feel any pain because of the anesthesia.  As a side-effect, I felt out of it.  I later heard from the nurses that they had to hold me down before I woke up because I was trying to move my body while I was sleeping.  When I saw my arm, I felt, "Oh, it's done.  Oh, I've just had surgery."

And then the pain came...

Just enough lights were turned on in my hotel room so I'd be able to see the medicine and water I need to stave off the pain.  I had a pillow set up so that I wouldn't move around much, so I was sleep at an angle.  It hurt so much that I'd just wake up from it.  And it would hurt some more when I tried to get up.

What kind of pain was it?

It felt like my arm was being pulled in a direction it wasn't supposed to be bending in.  I felt some throbbing.  It also felt like something was stabbing my arm.

Doing things day-to-day must have been difficult.

The biggest thing was not being able to wash my head with both hands.  I couldn't wash my face.  I couldn't eat.  But it was also good chance for me to work on using my left hand.  I proactively used my left hand whenever I could, like in using chopsticks.  It was kind of like, might as well try to have some fun, or at least get something out of a situation that isn't going to happen very often.  Suffering isn't always bad.

What did you do to address the pain at night while sleeping?

It was suggest that I get my wife to wake me up before the medicine wore off so that I could drink more medicine.  There's usually a cutoff for the medicine, so I set my alarm clock.  I was waking up once every 2-3 hours.  It was strong medicine so my body also felt heavy.

Sounds like you just had to keep at it.

It was annoying at first, but it was the only way to keep the pain away.  For about a week after the surgery, I was just stuck in bed, even when I was awake.  So I couldn't move my body around, even if I wanted to.  I could only move around to eat.  I slept only only woke up to eat.  I guess in some ways I was also really lucky [to be able to just lay around] (laughing).

Did you also have to pay attention to those around you?

I was in a bad situation and the last thing I wanted was to get people around me sucked into that.  So anytime anyone asked me anything, I just replied "I've decided to take things easy and I'm taking advantage of the [downtime] to get some rest."  I also thought it was important for me to change my mindset.  I stopped thinking about baseball.  I just decided I would treat this like the off-season.

Were you able to switch gears immediately after the surgery?

At first, I was just thinking about throwing as soon as possible.  I was also watching games.  But the more I thought about baseball, the harder it was for me to get through the day.  So I purposely stopped watching baseball games.  I also tried shadow pitching at first, but I gave that up as well.  I decided to focus only on my rehab and training.

That must have been difficult.

Feeling completely blank might be overstating things, but it was just waking up in the morning, heading to the stadium, doing my rehab work, and then coming home.  That's all I did the last 4 months.  After about a month, it just became part of my life.  Rehab sort of became a part of me.  It was almost like I was looking down on myself.  Living like that was a first for me.

You're now moving into the stages of preparing to pitch again....

I think I've been given more than enough time to work on building a new Daisuke Matsuzaka.  And I don't want to waste a minute of that time.  There are a lot of people waiting for my return.