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Dice-K Won't Change His Pitching Style

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AP
Daisuke Matsuzaka smiled at some questions, grew pensive about others and responded with a mixture of diplomacy and directness. In his first spring training news conference Thursday, Boston's $103 million pitcher said he would remain humble as a rookie, apologize to Red Sox teammates if the media crush annoyed them and has had no problems adjusting to his new country.

The Japanese star told a large media throng that he won't abandon what has worked _ even pitches high in the strike zone that contributed to his success.

"I have no plans to change," the 26-year-old right-hander said with one of many grins he flashed during his 42-minute news conference at a table on the roof of the third-base dugout at overcast City of Palms Park.

Seated not far from the mound he'll pitch from, Matsuzaka said he was physically ready for his first bullpen session on Sunday, when the first official workout for pitchers and catchers will be held.

"I prepared my physical strength to this level and I have worked on it and I've achieved that, I believe," he said through a translator.

The Red Sox paid $51.11 million to the Seibu Lions, Matsuzaka's former team, for the right to negotiate with him. They also gave him a $52 million, six-year contract.

"The scale of the contract does not determine how I play baseball," Matsuzaka said. "I feel responsibility a little bit but I am not pressured."

He claimed not to even know about the rivalry between the Red Sox and New York Yankees or what it's like to pitch in front of booing fans at Yankee Stadium.

"I haven't heard anything about it from my teammates," Matsuzaka said, "but I am looking forward to it."