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.
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.