The Cleveland Indians signed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to a Minor League contract hoping that the former starter can reach the majors at some point this season. Will the Indians be able to get him back to his winning ways?
The 32-year-old Matsuzaka exploded onto the Major League Baseball scene back in 2007 in which he posted a 33-15 record in his first two seasons. However, the former Japanese sensation has struggled mightily since then going 17-22 in his last four seasons. This includes going 1-7 with an 8.28 earned run average and 41 strikeouts in 11 starts in 2012.
Newly hired Cleveland manager Terry Francona was at the helm when the right-hander pitched for the Boston Red Sox. He saw firsthand what the six-year veteran could do and knows that there is a strong possibility Matsuzaka still has a couple of good years left in him if the Indians can get him mentally prepared.
As of right now, it is a long shot for Matsuzaka to make the 25-man roster outright but if he has a great spring training then he could win the fifth starting rotation spot. However, there are other talented candidates up for the job, which means Dice-K will most likely spend the beginning of the 2013 season in the minors trying to prove himself.
If Matsuzaka can stay mentally and physically healthy his raw talent should prove that he is capable of pitching in the majors once again. However, if Cleveland cannot cure his problems then this might be the last we see of one of the greatest Japanese pitchers of all time.