Former Red Sox Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka Retiring After 2021 Season

Koji Uehara posted a tribute on Instagram

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After more than two decades, Daisuke Matsuzaka will close the book on his professional baseball career.

The Seibu Lions on Wednesday announced Matzuaka would retire at the end of the season. General manager Hisanobu Watanabe said the 40-year-old, who pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 2007 through 2012, was struggling on and off the field.

“Daisuke is not in perfect condition physically or mentally at the current time,” Watanabe said in a statement, according to Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times. “However, when he has recovered I think he will be able to convey his own feelings in front of everyone.”

Matsuzaka had cervical spine surgery a year ago but is still struggling through numbness in his throwing hand, Coskrey wrote. His physical struggles came as he was feeling the mental effects of a season with fan restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He has not appeared in a professional game since 2019.

The Red Sox were enamored with Matsuzaka, so much so that they paid $51.1 million just to negotiate a contract in 2006.

When he arrived in Boston on a six-year, $52 million deal, he helped the team to a World Series championship a rookie. Through his six years with the team, he finished 50-37 through 117 games with a 4.52 ERA before finishing his big league career with the Mets.

Despite being solid, he didn’t exactly live up to the expectations in Boston. But if nothing else, Matsuzaka was an inspiration. Another former Red Sox hurler, Koji Uehara, paid tribute to him in an Instagram post.

Through 11 seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball, he posted a 3.04 ERA and a 114-65 record.

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