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Matsuzaka has Tommy John Surgery

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his future with the Red Sox is uncertain.

uncertain=over and not only with Red Sox.

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his future with the Red Sox is uncertain

Great understatement. Doubt the Sox will be holding any "Dice-K" days in his honor either.

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Carrying extra kilos and lacking the commitment to condition his body to perform at his best the last few years after two pretty good ones, Daisuke Matsuzaka has gone 16-15 with a 5.03 ERA the past three seasons with four stints on the disabled list, prior to the Tommy John surgery.

Matsuzaka thumbed his nose at his employers-the Boston Red Sox-and didn't follow the arm strengthening and conditioning program the team put together for him following arm concerns at the end of '08. It was more important to him to risk it all to play for Japan in the preseason WBC in early '09.

Ever since his selfish, foolish decision, he has pitched like a mediocre major leaguer, and not the ace the Red Sox had hoped he would be when they made a $103 million investment for his services over 6 years.

Daisuke Matsuzaka-just another Japanese player that couldn't quite measure up to the challenge of the major leagues. Good-bye and good riddance!

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Before you write off the rest of Matsuzaka's career, remember that most pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery can throw harder than they ever did before. He's going to go through a little bit of rest and then a lot of rehab, and will almost certainly get picked up by a major league club. His one great season before he wore out his arm is too tantalizing for major league GMs to ignore.

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I think he is done. The fault lies with the Seibu Lions in Japan. Japanese teams often abuse talented players here and use them too much. This is what happened to Matsuzaka. He was such an amazing pitcher for the Lions, and they forced him to throw too many innings.

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Agreed that he was overused by Seibu and his high school... disagree with it being the primary fault... had the Boston Red Sox let him condition himself in his own way like he had done in Japan, he might have been able to perform better... the Mariners let Sasaki use his own routine and he never had problems with weigh gain(he actually lost some throughout the season) and pitched at an All-Star level...

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"Before you write off the rest of Matsuzaka's career, remember that most pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery can throw harder than they ever did before."

Some do, to be fair, and some don't, but it generally takes some time before any pitcher coming off TJ gets his command back. The best case scenario for Dice-K is probably to get in a handful or so games late next year for Boston and then to see where that takes him.

The problem that I think you are overlooking is that Matsuzaka has not worked hard enough at the game the past few years to take care of his arm and the rest of his body. Where is the motivation going to come from after becoming so rich and experiencing so much personal and team success in Japan and the U.S. by age 30?

His one great season before he wore out his arm is too tantalizing for major league GMs to ignore.

Not for a long-term deal, and not unless he shows a greater commitment to baseball. It's more likely if he recovers by the end of next year that a team with some yen in Japan, like the Giants or Tigers, will offer him a multi-year deal for some major yen to finish out his career in NPB.

It will be interesting to come back to this a year or so from now.

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He was such an amazing pitcher for the Lions, and they forced him to throw too many innings.

He threw way too much from his teenage days and into his mid 20s, which is often a red flag for a pitcher to be any good after age 30. However, with the marvels of modern medicine, Matsuzaka may recover his form of years ago, and with a renewed commitment to the game.

And if the Seibu Lions had been so concerned about Matsuzaka's future after he gained FA status, they would not have done things like forcing him to play in the 2002 Japan Series when he was still clearly injured.

My guess is that Matsuzaka will never be a dominant pitcher again. With enough effort, though, he should at least be able to replicate what Kaz Ishii has done with the Lions since his return, perhaps a bit more.

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Agreed that he was overused by Seibu and his high school... disagree with it being the primary fault... had the Boston Red Sox let him condition himself in his own way like he had done in Japan, he might have been able to perform better... the Mariners let Sasaki use his own routine and he never had problems with weigh gain(he actually lost some throughout the season) and pitched at an All-Star level...

You can dispute which throwing regimen might have been better for Dice-K, MrMiyagi, but you can't blame Matsuzaka's overall weight problems and lack of conditioning on the Red Sox. That's all on Matsuzaka's shoulders. The Red Sox were never particularly happy with his workout efforts. (Are you also going to say that Iwamura's weight gain the past couple of years and his flop in the interim is to be blamed on the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Rakuten Eagles?)

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the Mariners let Sasaki use his own routine and he never had problems with weigh gain(he actually lost some throughout the season) and pitched at an All-Star level...

This is the same Sasaki that couldn't wait to get out of NPB because of how the BayStars were trying to ruin his arm, as Nomo had done some years before with the Buffaloes. The BayStars pretty much forced an injured Sasaki to pitch in an All-Star game in his last year in Japan, not caring about his future with the knowledge that he was going to leave via FA.

Sasaki had a few very good years with Seattle to his credit, with his arm falling apart in his last year in MLB. He gave up the final year of his contract in MLB because his personal life was shot due to his affairs, and the health of his arm wouldn't allow him to pitch in the majors anymore. He returned to Japan on a 2-year deal for more overall money and was a complete flop.

I think Matsuzaka has something left in the tank, unlike Sasaki, but he will only be a good pitcher again if he works much harder at the game and his conditioning than he has the past few years.

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Before you write off the rest of Matsuzaka's career, remember that most pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery can throw harder than they ever did before.

Matsuzaka will never consistently hit 150+ km/h with his fastball again like I used to see at the Seibu Dome from 1999 to the middle of the last decade. The rest of his body has changed too much and he doesn't have the same ability to create the arm speed that he did years ago.

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Agreed that he was overused by Seibu and his high school... disagree with it being the primary fault... had the Boston Red Sox let him condition himself in his own way like he had done in Japan, he might have been able to perform better...

Absolutely! MLB teams take a square peg to shove in a round hole. In this case it's taking a pitcher who grew up training one way - his entire career, youth to professional - and then making him train a different way. Less training, too. How is that ever going to work?

Of course Matsuzaka let the lack of practice and lack of extra pitching cause him to get lazy and fat, so it's quite a bit his fault too, but MLB teams need to get rid of their antiquated thinking that there is only one way to condition a pitcher, and their way is always best.

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I see him coming back. But the conditioning and the weight gain issues have to be controlled. His stuff has to be as heavy as his belt line. Irabu did the same thing. When they're on, they're unhittable. When they hit the bistros, it's another story.

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MLB teams need to get rid of their antiquated thinking that there is only one way to condition a pitcher, and their way is always best

No, they don't. There are pros and cons to both ways of training pitchers, so MLB should continue to do what they think they do best for their game after more than a century of trial and error. If NPB wants to continue with some different ways in Japan, so be it. (Interestingly, though, NPB generally follows the MLB way as times change-i.e. shorter starts for the starters as the reg. season has expanded from 130 to 140+, increasing specialization of the relievers....Increase the NPB reg. season to 162 games and in the bit shorter time frame the majors does theirs, with less time off at the end of the reg. season for the rain make-ups before the postseason, and you'd find NPB starters even less capable of coping with the increased workload in the games, and more likely to pitch less between starts.)

(I remember Nomo stating very clearly that he didn't think the Japanese throwing regimen would work as well with the MLB season. He ought to know, he was the one who restarted it all moving to the majors because the Buffaloes were ruining his arm.)

And if Matsuzaka had wanted to do more throwing, including some "nagekomi," would it not have made sense for him to do the other work for his conditioning and weight control first?

I'll grant you that sometimes MLB starters should probably throw more and some of the obsession with pitch counts is silly to me. (It should be more on a case-by-case basis with the pitcher, taking into account his age, his arm health, and each game.)

The biggest reason people want to throw out the argument you pose is that they want to find a convenient excuse for the shortcomings of so many Japanese starters who've tried the majors. Simply because Nomo was brilliant his first few years, the assumption developed that the overall level of Japanese pitchers was similar to the majors, which is far from the truth. (People didn't understand WHY a specific individual like Nomo was so good in the mid to late '90s.)

Of course Matsuzaka let the lack of practice and lack of extra pitching cause him to get lazy and fat

Absolutely wrong. It has been widely reported that Matsuzaka showed up over weight and out of shape at his first day in Red Sox camp and that they have had concerns about his weight, conditioning and commitment to the game ever since. The Red Sox were no more responsible for Dice-K's troubles with this stuff any more than the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Rakuten Eagles were for Akinori Iwamura's the past 2 years.

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Absolutely wrong. It has been widely reported that Matsuzaka showed up over weight and out of shape at his first day in Red Sox camp and that they have had concerns about his weight, conditioning and commitment to the game ever since.

The NPB club wouldn't let the player get away with this. Show up fat and you're running a bunch. Have you ever been to NPB spring training? I have, and they work those players hard. Your arm conditioning is poor? You're throwing a ton of pitches. Fat? Guess how much running you are doing.

And if Matsuzaka had wanted to do more throwing, including some "nagekomi," would it not have made sense for him to do the other work for his conditioning and weight control first?

Absolutely.

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The NPB club wouldn't let the player get away with this. Show up fat and you're running a bunch. Have you ever been to NPB spring training? I have, and they work those players hard. Your arm conditioning is poor? You're throwing a ton of pitches. Fat? Guess how much running you are doing.

Rakuten is still trying to figure out how to get Iwamura into shape, aren't they? They didn't learn from Pgh.'s problems with him, did they? Matsuzaka and Iwamura both became fat cats. They reached the top with personal and team success in Japan and MLB before 30. They lost their motivation and now their careers are suffering accordingly.

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Rakuten is still trying to figure out how to get Iwamura into shape, aren't they? They didn't learn from Pgh.'s problems with him, did they? Matsuzaka and Iwamura both became fat cats. They reached the top with personal and team success in Japan and MLB before 30. They lost their motivation and now their careers are suffering accordingly.

Yup. And notice they demoted him about a month into the season. Like you say he made his money and had some success in MLB and now he's just coasting. Though not very well, obviously. Big mistake to sign him (and Matsui).

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pathatJun. 13, 2011 - 01:44AM JST. I'll grant you that sometimes MLB starters should probably throw more and some of the obsession with pitch counts is silly to me. (It should be more on a case-by-case basis with the pitcher, taking into account his age, his arm health, and each game.)

Pitch count makes sense to some degree. Alot of the star pitchers in the MLB have long term large contracts. Pitchers like Halladay, Cliff Lee, Beckett. MLB is also in the entertainment business and it's all about money . If they lose their star pitcher, they might lose 5,000 to 10,000 per game in attendance. The bottom line is that owner will make more money if their investment stays healthy.

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MLB is also in the entertainment business and it's all about money .

Of course.

The bottom line is that owner will make more money if their investment stays healthy.

The real bottom line is it is unclear if fixed 100 pitch counts have one iota to do with the pitchers staying healthy or not. Plenty of guys on pitch counts develop arm troubles, too.

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Beantown got taken to the cleaners. I'm lovin it.

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SmorkianJun. 14, 2011 - 07:45AM JST. The real bottom line is it is unclear if fixed 100 pitch counts have one iota to do with the pitchers staying healthy or not. Plenty of guys on pitch counts develop arm troubles, too.

Unclear? Since you never played the game, do you know any Japanese pitcher or U.S. pitcher that currently plays in MLB that regularly have 140-150 pitch count? I don't know of any. Maybe the coaches and the managers know more than couch potatoes.

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