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.
CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox bolstered their rotation, agreeing to a one-year contract with right-hander Mike Clevinger, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical.
The 31-year-old Clevinger went 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 games, including 22 starts, for San Diego this year. He missed the 2021 season after he had Tommy John surgery.
Chicago is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season, when it went 81-81 and finished 11 games back of surprising AL Central champion Cleveland. Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa stepped down in October and Pedro Grifol was hired on Nov. 1.
The White Sox got a big lift from Johnny Cueto this year, but the 36-year-old right-hander is a free agent after going 8-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 25 appearances. Clevinger slots into a rotation that likely will include Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech.
The move puts the 6-foot-4 Clevinger back in the AL Central after he made his major league debut with Cleveland in 2016. He went 42-22 with a 3.20 ERA in four-plus seasons with Cleveland before he was traded to San Diego in a multiplayer deal in August 2020.
Clevinger was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 amateur draft. He was traded to Cleveland in 2014.
Clevinger is 51-30 with a 3.39 ERA in 128 career big league games. He also has 694 strikeouts in 656 2/3 innings.