Daisuke Matsuzaka played catch at a max distance of about 30 meters on Monday. He then tossed his first bullpen session since 5/16/2011 -- 11 pitches to a standing catcher, 10 pitches to a squatting catcher with a little something extra on the last two pitches he threw. Assuming no problems on Tuesday, Matsuzaka could do long distance throwing on Wednesday and another bullpen session on Thursday.
Matsuzaka also visited Yoshihiro Doi (signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles) in Ft. Lauderdale and spent about two hours with him.
Koji Uehara is planning to return to the US in early February. On Monday, he played catch at a distance of about 60 meters.
"I am more or less ready to go," said Uehara. "I plan to toss two to three bullpen sessions before heading to America."
When asked about the trade rumors, he replied, "If it is going to happen, I hope it happens quickly."
... According to two team insiders, the club is looking for a veteran lefthanded bat for the bench, and is shopping in the aisle that includes Rick Ankiel, Kosuke Fukudome, Raul Ibanez and Johnny Damon.
The latter two, while bigger names, appear less of a fit, because of a presumed desire for more at-bats and less defensive versatility. But Ankiel or Fukudome could provide Terry Collins with a lefty pinch-hitter, occasional platoon partner for Jason Bay and insurance against an injury to, or disappointing performance from, Bay, Lucas Duda or Andres Torres.
Sponichi reports that KOMO News incorrectly pronounced Hisashi Iwakuma's name HIGH-SA-SHI, instead of HE-SA-SHI, during a recent news broadcast.
Yu Darvish made Dayn Perry's "What you should watch for in 2012" list.
Former Seibu Lion Tetsuya Iwasaki (29) left for the US on Monday to participate in the Arizona Winter League. Iwasaki wants a chance to pitch in the Majors and is willing to sign a minor league deal.