The Boston Red Sox announced Friday that Daisuke Matsuzaka plans to start a rehab assignment with Single-A Salem on Monday.
Rehab assignments cannot last longer than 30 days for pitchers, so it's fair to project that the Red Sox believe Matsuzaka can return to the majors before the end of May.
Matsuzaka underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2011 to repair ligaments in his right elbow, and has not pitched in the majors since May 16, 2011.
Manager Bobby Valentine said Matsuzaka will be on a five-day schedule and is cleared for a 75-pitch burden, but won't be allowed to pitch more than 30 pitches in any single inning.
"Dice-K has been feeling pretty good. He's ready to start dealing with competition rather than rehabilitation," Red Sox manager Bobby V alentine said. "We'll monitor his pitches. He won't have any 30-pitch innings. He says he feels good."