Rehabbing Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka turned in his second straight scoreless outing on Thursday afternoon, holding Buffalo to three hits over six innings for Triple-A Pawtucket.
"I think I've thrown enough pitches at this point to be ready to pitch in the big leagues," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Masa Hoshino to the Associated Press.
Matsuzaka, sidelined with back and neck issues, threw 86 pitches in his second start, five days after he worked five shutout frames against Rochester. Boston pitching coach John Farrell said the organization would like to see Matsuzaka throw around 95 pitches in a game before he's ready to return to Fenway Park.
"When compared with the second time I went on the (disabled list) last year, it took me a really long time to have that feeling," Matsuzaka said. "You can't even compare them right now. I'm confident I can pitch in the big leagues."
The right-hander faced 21 batters and threw 57 of his 86 pitches for strikes, fanning two. He induced four grounders, a dozen fly balls and did not walk a batter.
He is scheduled to pitch again for Pawtucket on Tuesday at Rochester, but indicated after on Thursday that he may not need the third outing.
"I think, just like my last start, my arm action was pretty good," Matsuzaka said. "I wanted to work on being able to make adjustments on my breaking pitches today. Compared with my last outing, I think I was able to do that. Today I was able to use the slider with my normal arm action and it seemed to do the work on its own so that was great."
Matsuzaka allowed a leadoff double to Jason Pridie to begin his afternoon but settled down, striking out top Mets prospect Ike Davis to end the first inning. He retired six straight batters before allowing a bloop leadoff single to Alex Cintron in the third. Chris Carter added a third hit in the fifth before Matsuzaka worked a scoreless sixth, retiring Fernando Martinez to end his afternoon.
Before the seventh, PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur asked him if he wanted to go back out for one more hitter.
"In the past, when I made the decision to go back out, it's usually been a really tough out," Matsuzaka said. "When I was asked that today, we decided that would be it. But at the same time, there would have been no problems if I needed to go back out there."
He struck out three, walked one and hit two batters in his 2010 debut April 10, when he threw strikes in 43 of 73 pitches and hit 93 mph on the radar gun in Pawtucket.
The Japanese righty is coming off an injury-filled 2009 campaign in which he finished 12-4 with a 5.79 ERA with Boston. He made six rehab starts last season, including four with the PawSox.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.