Matsuzaka, who will make his first start in the Majors since May 16 of last year, knows he'll be full of emotions as he takes the field at Fenway Park.
"Saturday's game will be a special game. It will present a new step for me," Matsuzaka said. "It is going to be a very emotional day, but I have to remain calm and treat it like any other start I've had throughout my career."
The right-hander has done well in his last three rehab starts in the Minors, giving up just two runs. Overall, he made six Minor League rehab starts, going 0-3 with a 3.65 ERA and 30 strikeouts.
However, manager Bobby Valentine doesn't have any grand expectations for Matsuzaka's start.
"It's hard to predict what's going to happen," Valentine said. "I hope he throws strikes, and I hope he has more than two pitches to do it with, and I'd be happy if that happened."
Matsuzaka will have some stiff competition to get his first win of the season with road warrior Gio Gonzalez on the hill for Washington.
Starting with a victory at Fenway in August of last season, Gonzalez is 8-1 with a 2.19 ERA in his last 10 road starts.
In his last outing, which was at home, Gonzalez lost for the first time in six starts to the Braves. He surrendered three runs on seven hits and tossed only 4 2/3 innings because of a high pitch count that saw him throw 91 pitches in the outing.
"I thought he had pretty good stuff, but he had no command. His command was off today," manager Davey Johnson said after the start. "He wasn't using the inside part of the plate. It's a rare occasion he doesn't have pretty good command, and today was one of them."
Nats: Club sees Lidge in setup role
Johnson said Friday that reliever Brad Lidge will most likely become a setup man, while Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard will continue to split the closer's role.
The Nationals activated Lidge from the disabled list on Thursday after two rehab games, in which he was recovering from a sports hernia. He got one out in the ninth inning of Friday's game, giving up one run on one hit.
"I think he is fine, and I feel comfortable however I use him," Johnson said. "I'll probably keep him more on the [back end] of the bullpen."
Reliever Ryan Mattheus threw in a simulated game on Friday and didn't have any pain in his left foot. He will participate in pitchers' fielding practice on Saturday and pitch in another simulated game the next day. He's on the disabled list with a plantar fascia strain.
Red Sox: Dominant at home against Nats
Before a 7-4 loss to the Nationals on Friday, Boston won all nine of its previous home games against the Expos/Nationals dating back to its first Interleague series against the club at Fenway from June 30-July 2, 1998.
It marked the fourth time the Red Sox won at least their first nine games against a franchise at home.
The team won its first 10 home tilts against Milwaukee (later St Louis and Baltimore), the White Sox and the Royals.
The Sox lead the Majors with 223 extra-base hits, including a Major League-high 149 doubles.
The Nationals have committed just 31 errors this season (five by pitchers) and have played errorless ball in 12 of their last 15 contests.