Daisuke Matsuzaka wanted to stick around the American League to play under manager Terry Francona again, but also so he can face the Red Sox.
Matsuzaka, who signed with the Indians on a minor league deal that would pay him $1.5 million if he makes the club, spoke to reporters on Wednesday.
“What it came down to was I wanted to pitch for an American League team,” said Matsuzaka, “and I wanted to pitch against Boston to see what that would be like. And, of course, I wanted to play under Tito again.”
Matsuzaka spent the last six years in Boston, going 50-37 in 668 1/3 innings. But he pitched only 83 innings over the past two seasons, struggling to stay healthy with an elbow that required reconstructive surgery. He finished the 2012 season a shell of himself, going 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA, after several stints on the disabled list while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He said he feels much better about his health now.
“I’ve been throwing with pain for a while now,” said Matsuzaka, via to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “So it’s going to be important getting used to throwing without pain at first. Getting used to that might take some time. But I believe that without the pain, I should be able to become the pitcher I was in the past.”