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

Associated Press Published: March 28, 2013 4:00 AM

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 513 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.

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"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.

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"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

CLEVELANDCHICAGO

abrhbiabrhbi

Bourn cf3010De Aza cf3011

M.Carson cf2010K.Walker cf1000

Stubbs rf3110Keppinger 3b3000

C.Moncrief rf0100Tolleson 3b1001

Kipnis 2b3011Viciedo lf3000

T.Wolters 2b1100S.Gartrell lf1000

Swisher 1b2000A.Dunn dh3000

E.Gonzalez 1b1012Anderson dh1000

Brantley lf3000Konerko 1b3010

T.Holt lf0000Gimenez 1b1110

Reynolds dh3000Al.Ramirez ss0000

J.Smith ph-dh1000ASanchez ss3222

Chisenhall 3b3020Wise rf3120

J.Wendle pr-3b1000B.Short pr-rf1000

Aviles ss3000Flowers c2000

L.Hernandez ss1000K.Smith c2110

Marson c3110Beckham 2b2011

Santos c0000D.Garcia 2b2010

Totals33483Totals355105

Cleveland000002020--4

Chicago000020021--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

IPHRERBBSO

Matsuzaka51352203

Pestano2310002

Capps100002

P.Guilmet BS,1-2122202

M.Langwell L,0-1021010

CHICAGO

IPHRERBBSO

M.Zaleski200010

Omogrosso100000

Gray220003

Crain BS,1-1132201

Thornton110000

Troncoso122120

D.Webb W,1-0100011

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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