Free agent righty Daisuke Matsuzaka “likes the idea of possibly restarting in San Diego”

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From Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Daisuke Matsuzaka, whose once promising U.S. career was sidetracked by elbow reconstruction surgery in 2011, has told members of the Japanese media that he likes the idea of possibly restarting in San Diego. It seems he liked the city and the ballpark when he pitched at Petco Park in the first World Baseball Classic.

Matsuzaka posted a wretched 8.28 ERA in 45 2/3 innings this summer after returning from Tommy John surgery and really hasn’t been an effective major league starter since the 2008 season. But he should come cheap, and the Padres are usually open to considering any potential low-cost, low-risk free agent signing.

The 32-year-old native of Tokyo went 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in that first World Baseball Classic, which was won by Team Japan. The semifinals and finals were played at San Diego’s pitcher-friendly stadium.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.