You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t thought much about Daisuke Matsuzaka lately, as the ex-Red Sox and Mets pitcher has not played in the majors since 2014. He made his return to Japan when he signed a contract with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks prior to the 2015 season, but that didn’t work out too well, with Dice-K making only one NPB appearance and a handful of minor league appearances over a three year period due to injuries.
Matsuzaka signed with the Chunichi Dragons before the 2018 season. Given that he was 37 at the time and had hardly pitched a lick in three seasons, not much was likely expected of the former All-Star apart from his services as a gate attraction. Yet, despite the odds, Matsuzaka put together a pretty spiffy season for the Dragons, going 6-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 11 starts. He made the NPB All-Star Game and, just this morning, was named the league’s Comeback Player of the Year.
Not too bad for an old guy.