CLEVELAND — With at least one spot open in his rotation, new Indians manager Terry Francona will give a pitcher he knows well a shot to win a starting job.
Japanese right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka has agreed to a minor league contract with Cleveland. Matsuzaka, who pitched for Francona with the Boston Red Sox, must pass a physical for the deal to be finalized.
The Indians’ pitchers and catchers reported to camp in Goodyear, Ariz. on Sunday, with physicals scheduled to take place today.
Matsuzaka, 32, would get a $1.5 million, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster and would be able to earn $2.5 million in bonuses based on innings and starts.
He has won 50 major league games since signing a $52 million, six-year contract with Boston as free agent in 2007.
Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Brett Myers are the only pitchers with guaranteed spots in Cleveland’s rotation. Zach McAllister comes to camp favored to win the No. 4 spot, leaving Matsuzaka in a group with Scott Kazmir, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber and David Huff fighting it out.
The Indians’ preliminary agreement with Matsuzaka comes one day after the club signed 42-year-old slugger Jason Giambi to a minor league deal.
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