The Softbank Hawks announced today that Daisuke Matsuzaka will not be returning to the team next year. They also released the following statement from Matsuzaka:
To members of the Softbank Hawks organization and to Hawks fans, I am sorry I could not live up to expectations over the last three years. If I could, I would proudly be with the rest of the players celebrating the team’s victory…
To the staff that help me with my rehab until the very end, to Kimiyasu Kudo for listening to everything I had to say, to the coaches, to my teammates, and to the fans that sent warm cheers, each of your voices provided me with support.
There are not enough words, so I feel the only way to express my gratitude is by pitching off a mound at Ichi-gun. I hope to make it back to the field some day so that I can once again see my fans and teammates.
Source: Softbank 11/5/2017
[UPDATE 11/7 @ 3:05pm]
Tokyo Sports mentions an interesting scenario involving Matsuzaka and former Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez playing for the same team. The Kochi Fighting Dogs have no money, but would be more than happy to give Matsuzaka a place to train and play. Ramirez played for Kochi this year and could return next year (the team submitted an offer and is waiting for an answer).
Source: Tokyo Sports 11/7/2017
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Thirty-seven-year-old Daisuke Matsuzaka is in the final year of a three-year contract. According to Nikkan Sports, he is still interested in playing next year. The Softbank Hawks have yet to speak to him about 2018 and beyond, but appear to be open to offering him another contract if he wants to continue playing. They will most likely approach him before the end of the season.
Matsuzaka is currently working his way back from right shoulder problems.
[UPDATE 9/27 @ 3:55pm]
Matsuzaka told reporters on September 26 that he would have given up rehabbing his right shoulder if he had no plans to continue playing next year. He wants at least one more chance to return to the mound.
Matsuzaka has been rehabbing at various facilities in the Kanto region, away from the team’s Chikugo facilities, since mid-August. He returned to the Chikugo facilities on September 26 and was able to play catch at a distance of about forty meters.
The Hawks are planning to sit down with Matsuzaka to discuss his plans and schedule. They are prepared to provide him with whatever support he needs. If the Hawks do sign him to another contract, it will most likely be for a lot less than the estimated 400 million yen he is currently making.
[UPDATE 10/3 @ 10:45pm]
Matsuzaka was able to play catch at a distance of fifty meters today.
Source: Sports Hochi 10/3/2017
[UPDATE 10/15 @ 6:18am]
Matsuzaka tossed a bullpen session on October 14. It was his first session in about half a year. It was not a full session, but more like an extension of playing catch off an incline.
Source: Tokyo Sports 10/14/2017
[UPDATE 10/26 @ 6:01pm]
Matsuzaka tossed a bullpen session on October 26. He threw about fifty pitches to a standing catcher and twenty to a squatting catcher. It was the first time he threw to a squatting catcher since April. He was able to throw the ball at close to full strength.
Fixed an error in translation and added more information on 10/28 @ 3:17am
[UPDATE 11/4 @ 2:12m]
The media learned on November 3 that Matsuzaka will be leaving the Hawks because he wants to continue playing. The Hawks informed the veteran that he was not going to be a part of the team’s plans next year and offered him a job within the organization. Matsuzaka declined their offer and instead opted to leave the team.
Matsuzaka has already cleared out his locker at the Hawks’ farm facilities. He will most likely focus on playing opportunities in Japan.
It should be noted that Tokyo Sports is carrying a slightly different story: the Hawks were willing to sign Matsuzaka to another contract, but he instead asked to be released.
[UPDATE 11/5 @ 12:35am]
According to Tokyo Sports, Matsuzaka might try to find a place to play in the United States (MLB or independent league). He might not find any suitors in Japan, plus his family is living in the US.
Source: Tokyo Sports 11/4/2017
[UPDATE 11/5 @ 11:37am]
The Hawks apparently tried to offer Matsuzaka a similar deal they had with Kazumi Saito — take him off their seventy-man roster with a promise to add him back as soon as he is ready, keep him on the payroll by giving him a job and title (like San-gun rehab coach), and allow him to recover from his injury at his own pace.
A Seibu official told reporters on November 4 they had yet to consider Matsuzaka and that they had no comment at this time.0 Comments
There was talk that Daisuke Matsuzaka might be called up to take Tsuyoshi Wada’s next start on April 15 against Orix at YafuOku Dome. Those tentative plans were tossed out the window when Matsuzaka complained of problems with his right shoulder. Tadashi Settsu will most likely get the start on April 15.
Matsuzaka showed signs of concern while playing catch at the facilities in Chikugo on April 12. He was seen touching the area near his right shoulder while talking to a team trainer. He canceled a batting practice session later in the day.
[UPDATE 4/15 @ 10:25pm]
Matsuzaka rejoined the team today after getting treatment for his right shoulder. He is scheduled to begin workouts at Ni-gun on April 18.
[UPDATE 4/21 @ 6:32pm]
Matsuzaka was originally slated to continue workouts at Ni-gun, but will instead join the rehab group. Pitching coach Shinji Kurano told reporters the decision to move him to the rehab group was not because his condition was worse than originally though, or because he needed more time. When telling reporters of the decision, he added that Matsuzaka was not scheduled to pitch any time soon.
Source: Daily Sports 4/21/2017
[UPDATE 5/21 @ 12:02am]
Matsuzaka played catch at a distance of about forty meters on May 20. He started playing catch again last week.
Source: Nikkan Sports 5/20/20170 Comments
Kimiyasu Kudo and pitching coach Shinji Kurano told reporters today that Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tadashi Settsu will start the year at Ni-gun. The two players will report to Ni-gun facilities in Chikugo on March 26.0 Comments
Daisuke Matsuzaka started an exhibition game against Seibu at MetLife Dome earlier today. He developed tightness in his right thigh (adductor muscle) while pitching in the fourth inning. He left the game with the bases loaded and two out. He was hoping to throw about 100 pitches, but left after throwing seventy-one. He later told reporters he first started feeling discomfort in his right leg in the first inning.
[UPDATE 3/19 @ 10:49pm]
Matsuzaka participated in pre-game practices at Yokohama Stadium today. He did some running and played some catch. He appeared to be okay.
Source: Sponichi 3/19/2017
[UPDATE 3/19 @ 11:48pm]
Matsuzaka is currently slated to remain with the Ichi-gun team.
Source: Tokyo Sports 3/19/2017
[UPDATE 3/22 @ 12:12am]
Matsuzaka could toss a bullpen session on March 22. His workouts on March 21 included playing catch for about third minutes and running dashes in the outfield.
Source: Nikkan Sports 3/21/2017
[UPDATE 3/22 @ 5:44pm]
Matsuzaka threw seventy-five pitches in the bullpen today. He is currently slated to start a game against Hiroshima on March 25. This will most likely be his last chance to win a spot in the opening day starting rotation.
Source: Tokyo Sports 3/22/20170 Comments
The Softbank Hawks scratched Daisuke Matsuzaka from an intra-squad appearance on February 19 because they are concerned about his fatigue levels. He might not pitch in a game until some time after February 22. He is still slated to join Group A camp on February 21.
[UPDATE 2/23 @ 12:09am]
The Hawks decided to delay Matsuzaka’s first outing again after they evaluated his progress on February 22. He has not tossed a bullpen session since he pitched in a batting practice scrimmage on February 14.
Matsuzaka played catch at a distance of about 100 meters on February 22. He is slated to toss a bullpen session on February 23. Depending on how he is feeling, he could make his first appearance during a Ni-gun practice game against Yomiuri on February 25.
[UPDATE 2/24 @ 11:33pm]
Matsuzaka is slated to start and pitch two innings in a Ni-gun practice game against Yomiuri on February 25.
Source: Sponichi 2/24/20170 Comments
Daisuke Matsuzaka wants to play winter ball in Puerto Rico this off-season. The Softbank Hawks are expected to give him permission to play.
Ryota Igarashi is thinking about playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
[UPDATE 10/30 @ 9:55pm]
Softbank announced on October 30 that Igarashi will play winter ball in Mexico. He will leave on October 31 and return in mid-December.
Source: Sanspo 10/30/2016
[UPDATE 11/10 @ 11:14pm]
The Hawks are expected to allow Matsuzaka to play winter ball in Puerto Rico. His agent is currently finalizing the paperwork with the Gigantes de Carolina.
[UPDATE 11/19 @ 3:00am]
Igarashi’s last two appearances for the Tomateros de Culiacan have been as a starting pitcher. In his last outing on November 16, he pitched eight shutout innings and struck out twelve.
Source: Nikkan Sports 11/18/2016
[UPDATE 11/20 @ 6:11pm]
Matsuzaka will be working with the Gigantes de Carolina. He is scheduled to arrive in Puerto Rico on November 29 and suit up on November 30. His contract is for one month, December. He could also stick around a bit longer.
Source: Sponichi 11/20/2016
[UPDATE 12/2 @ 9:21pm]
Matsuzaka is scheduled to make his first start on December 3 (Japan time December 4) and throw about fifty pitches.
Source: Sports Hochi 12/2/2016
[UPDATE 12/4 @ 10:48pm]
Matsuzaka’s start on December 4: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 2 SO. He threw 75 pitches even though he was slated to throw 50. He topped out at about 143km/h.
Nikkan Sports posted the following breakdown by inning:
[UPDATE 12/7 @ 12:34pm]
Matsuzaka is slated to throw eighty to eighty-five pitches during his next start on December 13 (Japan time December 14). He will be making the start on nine days of rest.
Source: Daily Sports 12/7/2016
[UPDATE 12/14 @ 5:39pm]
Results from Matsuzaka’s second start: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 SO. He gave up a lead-off double to start the game, but did not allow any runs in the first inning. He retired the side in order in the second (K, F3, Fo5) and third (G6, G6, F7) innings. He allowed a run on a hit, walk, a wild pitch, and a sac fly in the fourth inning. He walked a batter in the fifth inning, but did not allow any runs. He threw seventy-seven pitches. There was a rain delay of about ten minutes during the fifth inning.
Nikkan Sports‘ inning breakdown:
[UPDATE 12/15 @ 11:33am]
Of the seventy-seven pitches Matsuzaka threw during his last start, thirty-nine were two-seamers. His fastball topped out at 90 miles an hour and his two-seamer averaged about 86 miles per hour. He also moved to a no-wind delivery and improved his control: he walked six in four innings in his first start with a 47 percent strike rate and two in five innings in his second start with a 58 percent strike rate.
Source: Sponichi 12/15/2016
[UPDATE 12/16 @ 10:34pm]
Matsuzaka will probably get two more starts. His next start could come on December 22 (Japan time December 23).
Source: Nikkan Sports 12/16/2016
[UPDATE 12/21 @ 9:51pm]
Matsuzaka got a start on December 20. He gave up two runs on six hits over four innings. He walked one and struck out three. He allowed a run on three hits in the second inning and a second run on a sac fly in the third.
[UPDATE 12/27 @ 10:29pm]
Matsuzaka is slated to make his last start on December 28 (Japan time December 29). He threw fifty-two pitches during a bullpen session on December 26.
[UPDATE 12/29 @ 7:12pm]
Matsuzaka made his last start on December 28. He pitched seven innings and gave up a run on three hits and two walks. He three eighty-eight pitches and struck out three.
Nikkan Sports’ inning breakdown:
Daisuke Matsuzaka had a meeting with Kimiyasu Kudo at YafuOku Dome on September 30. He is now set to join the Ichi-gun team for workouts on October 1 and could pitch an inning or two in relief during the Rakuten game on October 2.0 Comments
Daisuke Matsuzaka started a Ni-gun game against Hanshin at Tama Home Stadium Chikugo earlier today. He pitched two innings and gave up two runs (one earned). He faced nine batters, struck out one, walked none, gave up three hits (all doubles in the first inning), and topped out at 145km/h.0 Comments