Indians lose, but get hope of Matsuzaka return with nice start

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A day after getting a vote of confidence from his manager, Daisuke Matsuzaka came through with a solid outing.

Making his final spring start, Matsuzaka allowed two runs and five hits over 51⁄3 innings in the Cleveland Indians' 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

"The major thing was throwing strikes with all my pitches," Matsuzaka said. "And I felt like I was on the same page with (catcher Lou) Marson."

Matsuzaka opened with four scoreless innings before the White Sox scored two runs in the fifth on Gordon Beckham's RBI single to left and Alejandro De Aza's bunt single between Matsuzaka and first base that scored Dewayne Wise. Two of the five hits allowed by Matsuzaka didn't get out of the infield.

"I don't know what my velocity was but I was able to get swings and misses, so that's a sign that things are headed in the right direction," Matsuzaka said. "I could tell my offspeed pitches were working off my fastball. That's a good sign, too."

Matsuzaka and Matt Capps agreed to minor league contracts on Tuesday after being released from their previous deals with the Indians, who used the moves to get around the baseball labor contract provision that requires a $100,000 retention bonus if a player is not released by Tuesday or guaranteed a spot on the opening-day roster or disabled list.

Matsuzaka and Capps will stay in Indians camp until Saturday before being reassigned to Triple-A Columbus.

"I'll do what I need to do down there so that whenever I do get called up I'll be ready to contribute," Matsuzaka said. "Of course, the earlier the better, but that's not for me to decide. That's for the front office to decide. All I can do is be ready when I do get called up."

Slowed by a strained calf, Matsuzaka had allowed two runs in eight innings over his previous four spring outings. On Tuesday, Indians manager Terry Francona said he believes Matsuzaka can be the Dice-K he knew when they were together in Boston.

"Dice-K, I tried to remind him of this," Francona said. "He's two years removed now from Tommy John (surgery). There's no reason he can't be the Dice-K that won 18 games. He just needs some repetition and some confidence, and he's got to remember who he is. I know when he used to take the ball and take the mound, he always felt like he was going to win. He needs to get that back."

Cleveland's rotation includes Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister and Scott Kazmir. Matsuzaka jumps into the mix of rotation candidates with Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber.

Matsuzaka was a combined 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA in 2007 and 2008 for the Red Sox. Matsuzaka underwent Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in June 2011, and his production has been affected by inconsistencies and injuries. He was 17-22 with a 5.53 ERA over the past four seasons.

WHITE SOX 5, INDIANS 4

CLEVELAND CHICAGO

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Bourn cf 3 0 1 0 De Aza cf 3 0 1 1

M.Carson cf 2 0 1 0 K.Walker cf 1 0 0 0

Stubbs rf 3 1 1 0 Keppinger 3b 3 0 0 0

C.Moncrief rf 0 1 0 0 Tolleson 3b 1 0 0 1

Kipnis 2b 3 0 1 1 Viciedo lf 3 0 0 0

T.Wolters 2b 1 1 0 0 S.Gartrell lf 1 0 0 0

Swisher 1b 2 0 0 0 A.Dunn dh 3 0 0 0

E.Gonzalez 1b 1 0 1 2 Anderson dh 1 0 0 0

Brantley lf 3 0 0 0 Konerko 1b 3 0 1 0

T.Holt lf 0 0 0 0 Gimenez 1b 1 1 1 0

Reynolds dh 3 0 0 0 Al.Ramirez ss 0 0 0 0

J.Smith ph-dh 1 0 0 0 ASanchez ss 3 2 2 2

Chisenhall 3b 3 0 2 0 Wise rf 3 1 2 0

J.Wendle pr-3b 1 0 0 0 B.Short pr-rf 1 0 0 0

Aviles ss 3 0 0 0 Flowers c 2 0 0 0

L.Hernandez ss 1 0 0 0 K.Smith c 2 1 1 0

Marson c 3 1 1 0 Beckham 2b 2 0 1 1

Santos c 0 0 0 0 D.Garcia 2b 2 0 1 0

Totals 33 4 8 3 Totals 35 5 10 5

Cleveland 000 002 020 -- 4

Chicago 000 020 021 -- 5

E--Aviles (1), E.Gonzalez (1). DP--Cleveland 1. LOB--Cleveland 6, Chicago 9. 2B--Kipnis (2), Ang.Sanchez (1). HR--Ang.Sanchez (2). SB--Bourn (2), Wise (1). S--K.Walker.

CLEVELAND

IP H R ER BB SO

Matsuzaka 51⁄3 5 2 2 0 3

Pestano 2⁄3 1 0 0 0 2

Capps 1 0 0 0 0 2

P.Guilmet BS,1-2 1 2 2 2 0 2

M.Langwell L,0-1 0 2 1 0 1 0

CHICAGO

IP H R ER BB SO

M.Zaleski 2 0 0 0 1 0

Omogrosso 1 0 0 0 0 0

Gray 2 2 0 0 0 3

Crain BS,1-1 1 3 2 2 0 1

Thornton 1 1 0 0 0 0

Troncoso 1 2 2 1 2 0

D.Webb W,1-0 1 0 0 0 1 1

HBP--by Matsuzaka (Al.Ramirez). WP--Pestano, Crain, Thornton. PB--K.Smith.

Umpires--Home, Mike Muchlinski; First, Cory Blaser.

T--2:52. A--6,586 (13,000).

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