FORT MYERS, Fla. — Slowed since the start of spring training because of back and neck injuries, Boston Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka took a small step Sunday toward his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game.

Matsuzaka faced Boston minor leaguers in an intrasquad game at the player development complex, about two miles from the team’s spring training home at City of Palms Park. He threw 32 pitches, 18 for strikes, and then threw an additional 14 in the bullpen after his outing.

“Daisuke was thrilled, because his command was probably where you’d expect it to be, considering it’s the first time in that situation,” Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said. “But after he came back he was bouncing around. He felt really good about it.”

Jon Lester struck out seven over 51/3 innings, but the Houston Astros scored seven runs off Boston’s bullpen for a 10-7 victory in a split-squad game at Fort Myers, Fla., that was called after eight innings because of rain.

Lester gave up three runs on five hits and did not walk a batter in his fourth start of the spring.

Boston’s other split-squad game in Dunedin against the Toronto Blue Jays was rained out.


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