This shouldn’t be too surprising to folks keeping up-to-date with all the latest Spring Training news, but it is worth emphasizing again: odds are that free agent Daisuke Matsuzaka won’t make the Indians’ final 25-man roster.
Matsuzaka, 32, has battled several injuries in the last few years. He notably had Tommy John surgery in June 2011, which kept him out of MLB action for nearly a year. He also had two offseason backsurgeries in winter 2011, then missed even more time in 2012 with a stiff neck.
The Japanese right-hander also wasn’t very good when he pitched last year. In his five September/October outings, he went 0-4 with a 14.36 ERA, allowing 10 walks, 30 hits and 25 runs in just 15.2 IP.
He’s off to an OK start out in Arizona with the Tribe, as he has allowed one walk, four hits and two runs in 4.0 IP in his two games. But murmurs lingered that his velocity was plateau-ing in the mid-80s and his stuff still wasn’t right. The latest rumor of his unlikeliness to make the team and earn his $1.5 million deal for doing so comes via Terry Pluto’s usual Sunday notes in the Plain Dealer:
“8. It would be a shock if Daisuke Matsuzaka makes the team. His fastball is in the middle 80s and his arm doesn’t seem healed from 2011 elbow reconstruction surgery. He was 1-8 with a 8.28 ERA for Boston last season. Matsuzaka is on a minor-league contract, so he’s paid only if he’s on the opening day roster.”
As previously indicated, there still remain several other more serious candidates to break Spring Training as the No. 5 starter for the Tribe. Scott Kazmir and Trevor Bauer are the hot names, while it seems Zach McAllister continues to maintain his leg up for the No. 4 spot.
[Related: Spring Training: Matsuzaka, Kazmir, Bauer shine in Indians debuts]