Daisuke Matsuzaka is in the best shape of his life

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The Sox weren’t happy with Dice-K’s conditioning last year, but his offseason was good enough that I feel comfortable giving him the official BSOHL seal of approval:

The righthander arrived here
Thursday and worked out at the team complex the last two days. After a
winter that included several sessions at the Athletes’ Performance
training center in Arizona, Matsuzaka appears to be in better condition
than last season.

“He worked hard this winter, that’s evident,” general manager Theo Epstein said. “He has lost weight.”

Nice to hear he’s in shape, but the real questions surround his pride and candor. His struggles last year may have had a basis in a lack of conditioning, but they were exacerbated by his failure to disclose his injuries — a groin pull, mostly — and by allowing the Red Sox to pitch him when he wasn’t healthy. That led to ineffectiveness and shoulder problems.

Even guys who are in good shape get hurt. Hopefully Matsuzaka will let everyone know about it if it happens again.

Former number one pick Mark Appel DFA’d by the Phillies

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Life comes at you fast.

The Phillies have designated pitcher Mark Appel for assignment. Appel was the number one overall pick, taken by the Houston Astros, in the 2013 draft before being dealt to the Phillies in 2015. He was selected one slot ahead of Kris Bryant and 31 slots above Aaron Judge, by the way.

Appel, who is somehow already 26, posted a 5.27 ERA and 60/53 K/BB ratio over 82 Triple-A innings in 2017. He’s had a history of bone spurs and other ailments that have hindered his development.

It could still come together for Appel in a new location — the Phillies have seven days to trade or waive him — but at this point you can’t consider him a prospect.