Matsuzaka, Okajima spearhead Sox Japan relief effort

March, 14, 2011
3/14/11
4:42
PM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima were at the gates prior to Monday night's game collecting donations earmarked for relief in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan last Friday.

[+] EnlargeJapanese Red Sox
AP Photo/Charles KrupaDaisuke Matsuzaka gets a pat on the back from a fan as the Red Sox pitcher collects donations to help his native Japan.
The Red Sox Foundation has donated $50,000 to the effort, and is encouraging fans to make donations through the foundation. Fans can go to www.redsoxfoundation.org to make a tax-deductible donation via credit card online or by mail via check/money order. Checks should be made out to “Red Sox Foundation/Japan Relief” and sent to Red Sox Foundation, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215. According to the team, 100 percent of the monies received will support Red Cross relief efforts in Japan.

Matsuzaka and Okajima recorded video messages in Japanese and English expressing support for their country and asking fans to make a donation. The videos and donation details are available on the team's website at redsox.com/japan.

"Japan has been brave fighting through damages caused by the earthquake and tsunami," Matsuzaka said on the Japanese-language video message.

"We are especially concerned with all those who are missing and are waiting to be rescued," said Okajima, also on the Japanese-language video. "And we pray for their safe return to their family and friends."

Rehabbing pitcher Junichi Tazawa and minor leaguer Itsuki Shoda are scheduled to join Matsuzaka and Okajima at the gates. They are scheduled to be there from 5:30 to 6.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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