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Posted: Wednesday June 6, 2012 6:35PM ; Updated: Wednesday June 6, 2012 8:32PM

Matsuzaka returning Red Sox's rotation Saturday

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BOSTON (AP) -- Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected to start Saturday against the Washington Nationals, one day short of a year after he had reconstructive elbow surgery.

Boston manager Bobby Valentine told the media of Matsuzaka's scheduled start before Wednesday's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

"He was in today. Says he feels fine. He'll be, unless something changes, we'll try to activate him, pitch him on Saturday," Valentine said. "Obviously, we'll wait till that date comes around."

Matsuzaka had Tommy John surgery last June 10. He made eight rehab starts and will replace right-hander Daniel Bard, sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday.

Matsuzaka was 0-2 with a 3.37 ERA in his six rehab starts for Pawtucket.

Bard, a successful setup man for Boston the last two seasons, was converted to a starter in spring training. He is 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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