You'd have thought five years with Daisuke Matsuzaka was enough for any man . . . but not Terry Francona.
Francona -- Dice-K's manager for the Japanese right-hander's first five seasons in the big leagues -- is now reunited with the talented, frustrating, exasperating starter. The Indians, Tito's new team, have signed Matsuzaka to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training in the hopes that he'll earn a spot in the starting rotation.
Dice-K underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and had a pretty ugly return (8.28 ERA in 45 23 innings) to the Red Sox late last year. Still, a) he's only 32; b) pitchers tend to improve in their second season removed from Tommy John, and c) he has enough talent that he posted a 50-37 record during his tenure in Boston. If you ignore the water torture of his 32-pitch innings and constant 3-and-2 counts, the numbers -- at least at the beginning of his Red Sox tenure -- really weren't that bad.
How not that bad? According to baseball-reference.com, it's a 162-game average of 15-11, 4.52 -- don't forget, he missed large chunks of the 2009, '11 and '12 seasons to injuries -- and the Indians certainly would take that. Plus, if anyone's used to dealing with the frustrations of a Dice-K start, it's Francona.
Just keep the Tums handy, Tito.