The Japanese right-hander fell out of favor in Boston after his production continuously dropped from 2008 until his contract expired with the conclusion of the 2012 season. He began spring training with the Indians on Wednesday, reuniting with former skipper Terry Francona, and said that the potential opportunity to face his former club played a role in his decision to sign with Cleveland, according to MLB.com Indians reporter Jordan Bastian. (h/t Eye on Baseball)
One reason Dice-K picked the Indians? They're in the AL. "I want to pitch against Boston," he said through interpreter Jeff Cutler.—
Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 13, 2013
Boston does face the Tribe seven times this season, including four games at Fenway Park, but whether Matsuzaka will be part of Cleveland’s starting rotation is very much a question mark. The 32-year-old has not put together a quality campaign since going 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 2008 and has made more than 12 starts just once in the past four seasons.
In 11 starts last year, Matsuzaka went 1-7 and lasted more than six innings just once. His 8.28 ERA ranked last in the majors among players with more than 40 innings pitched.
He’ll also be competing with several others for the team’s final rotation spot, including two-time All-Star Scott Kazmir and highly touted rookie Trevor Bauer. Bauer, who came over from Arizona in a three-team deal during the offseason, is the No. 2 prospect in the Indians organization and No. 17 overall, according to MLB.com.
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