TAMPA, Fla. -- Dice-K arrived at Spring Training.
And so did crowds of reporters, photographers and television crews who flocked to Florida to chronicle the $100 million Japanese ace's landing. That didn't count the handful of puzzled passers-by who wondered what all the fuss was about Monday at Tampa International Airport.
It's all about Daisuke Matsuzaka.
He arrived at the airport early Monday night, then got in a car for the ride to Fort Myers, about 130 miles to the south, to settle in before his first workout at Boston's training camp.
"I have a few days left before camp officially starts," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter during a five-minute interview session in the baggage claim area. "My excitement has not reached its peak, but I would love to meet my teammates."
Moments earlier, his flight from Los Angeles touched down on schedule two months after bumpy negotiations led to a $52 million, six-year contract. That's on top of the $51.11 million the Red Sox paid the Seibu Lions for winning the bid to negotiate with him.
All that money bought a pitcher revered in Japan since he pitched a no-hitter in high school, a player with a catchy nickname that already has shown up on T-shirts around Boston.
But his spring training goals are no different than those of most Major Leaguers.
"I would try not to get injured," he said, and "I would like to meet everybody's expectations by playing well."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.