Former Red Sox pitcher Matsuzaka signs with Mets
FILE - In this March 5, 2013 file photo, Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning of a spring training baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Indians have released Matsuzaka. He is now a free agent. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
NEW YORK – The New York Mets are the latest team to take a chance on Daisuke Matsuzaka.
The Mets signed the Japanese right-hander to a one-year contract yesterday and plan to start him in the opener of a weekend series against the Detroit Tigers tonight.
The 32-year-old Matsuzaka was released by Cleveland on Tuesday at his request. He had spent the entire season at Triple-A Columbus after failing to win a spot in Cleveland’s rotation during spring training.
After working through early-season injuries, Matsuzaka had pitched well in recent weeks, going 4-4 with a 3.56 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 10 starts for the Clippers since July 2. He was 5-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 19 minor league starts overall.
The game against the Tigers will be Matsuzaka’s first major league appearance since he went 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA in 11 starts for Boston last year.
Matsuzaka made his major league debut in 2007 after the Red Sox won a lucrative competition for his services from Japan’s Seibu Lions. He got off to a fine start, winning 33 games and a World Series ring during his first two seasons in the majors.
Matsuzaka has been slowed by elbow issues since 2009, and he won only 17 games over the past four seasons for the Red Sox. He underwent elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2011.
He lost out to Scott Kazmir in a battle for the fifth spot in Cleveland’s rotation during spring training. Then he was hampered by a strained oblique muscle while in the minors before returning to better form.
Matsuzaka is 50-37 with a 4.52 ERA in 117 career games.
The Mets said they will announce a corresponding roster move before tonight’s game against Detroit.