He made only one relief appearance in the major leagues before this weekend.
Matsuzaka lost out to Jenrry Mejia during a Spring Training competition for the final spot in the team's starting rotation.
"I was mentally prepared from the beginning," Matsuzaka said (Newsday, Apr. 21). "This is my role for the time being, so I just need to go out and pitch well."
The question for Dice-K -- as it is for any career starting pitcher making this transition to a reliever -- was whether he could change his routine, get ready on short notice, bounce back and be effective. He looked good. So far so good. This is what the organization will hopefully learn over the next month or so in Triple-A when occasionally working minor-league starting pitchers in relief, as well. It sounds crazy. It's easy to think these guys can just flip a switch, change roles and perform. But, history shows this is not always the case. They're all creatures of habit.