From Comcast SportsNetCLEVELAND (AP) -- 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 Monday.The 32-year-old Matsuzaka 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 performance 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. Dice-K went 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA in 61 starts for Boston in 2007-08. However, he has been limited to 18 starts and 83 innings the last two seasons after right elbow surgery in 2011.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 this spring.Matsuzaka pitched in Japan from 1999-2006, going 108-60 with a 2.95 ERA for the Seibu Lions. The Red Sox won a bidding war over several teams to sign him and he went 15-12 in 32 starts in his first season in the AL.He was dominant in 2008, going 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA and recording 154 strikeouts in 167 2-3 innings. He finished fourth in voting for the AL Cy Young Award.But Matsuzaka's numbers have dropped alarmingly in the past four years. He has gone 17-22 with a 5.53 ERA and underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in June 2011. He began last year in the minors before joining the Red Sox and going 1-7 with an 8.28 in 11 starts.If added to the big league roster, he would be able to earn 700,000 based on innings -- 100,000 each for 50, 75, 100, 120, 140, 150 and 160 -- and 1.8 million based on starts -- 200,000 apiece for eight, 10, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27 and 30.The Indians' preliminary agreement with Matsuzka comes one day after the club signed 42-year-old slugger Jason Giambi to a minor league deal.Giambi could fill a hole at designated hitter for Francona, who has said he's willing to use several players in that role. Giambi spent the past three-plus seasons as a part-time player for Colorado.A five-time All-Star and former AL MVP, Giambi has 429 career homers -- just one in 89 at-bats for the Rockies last season.
NEW YORK -- If Drew Pomeranz is going to be part of the Red Sox' postseason plans, the team will likely have a better idea about that question by Thursday afternoon.
Pomeranz, who was scratched from his final scheduled start on Thursday because of soreness in his left forearm and general concern about his 2016 workload, will throw a 30-35 pitch bullpen.
If he responds well, he could then see some relief action over the final weekend at Fenway to determine his readiness for the playoffs.
"Before we even begin to map out a potential relief appearance over the weekend,'' said John Farrell, "we've got to get through that next step.''
Pomeranz pitched well in his last start at Tropicana Field over the weekend, but has been dealing with some discomfort in his forearm.
"I've had some soreness here, late in the year,'' Pomeranz said. "I've thrown more innings than I have ever (before), so we kind of sat down and talked about the best course of action the rest of the way.''
Pomeranz described what he felt as "just some soreness, probably from never covering this time of the year. It's a spot I've never been in before. We just decided the best thing to do was not making this last start and talk about maybe sliding into the bullpen.''
The lefty is no stranger to the bullpen, having pitched there as recently as last season while with Oakland.
"I've had the benefit of doing pretty much everything (in terms of roles),'' he said. "I'm pretty comfortable in any situation. If they see me helping there, obviously, that's where I want to be. But I don't know if it's a sure thing. We'll have to see how it goes.''
Meanwhile, another sidelined starter, Steven Wright, is expected to rejoin the team in Boston Friday. Wright threw a bullpen off the mound earlier this week in Fort Myers as he attempts to come back from inflammation in his shoulder.
Brad Stevens gave Jae Crowder some wise advice for how to win over Celtics fans, and now he has become a crowd favorite.