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ANAHEIM - There may be nobody who can appreciate Masa Yoshida's recent integration into the world of major league baseball better than the man milling just outside the Red Sox' dugout at Angel Stadium Monday night.
Yes, Daisuke Matsuzaka will forever represent the be-all, end-all when it comes to a player put under a microscope after putting on a Red Sox uniform.
The tracking of his planes. The massive press conference. The entire room built in the back of the Fenway Park press box just to accommodate those Japanese media members following the pitcher. And all that attention, starting with a legion of 30-or-so reporters waiting each February morning (starting at 6 a.m.) for Matsuzaka's arrival at the Red Sox' spring training complex.
"I wasn’t surprised. I was just happy," Matsuzaka told WEEI.com through a translator after catching up with his former teammate, Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "The more fans and attention the happier you are a player. So many people came, even in spring training. That just gave me so much energy."
Now, 16 years later, it's Yoshida's turn.
Because in part to the additional Japanese players participating in the majors, there aren't the numbers of international media members following Yoshida's every move as Matsuzaka experienced upon his arrival in 2007. But that doesn't mean the duo can't relate to each other when it comes to playing baseball in Boston.
It's why Matsuzaka - who still lives in the Boston area -has made a point to be available in case Yoshida needs a shoulder to lean on.
"He can only control what happens on the field," Matsuzaka explained. "I just want him to focus on that. I let him know if he needed any advice to just let me know, but he hasn’t said anything yet."
The 42-year-old, who last pitched in the majors with the Mets in 2014, added one last piece of advice, "You have to accept what is going to happen and appreciate the passion."
Yoshida entered Monday's series-opener one of the early favorites to win the American League Rookie of the Year, hitting .305 with an .877 OPS.