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Daisuke Matsuzaka will undergo Tommy John elbow surgery

Jun 1, 2011, 9:54 PM EDT

Red Sox starting pitcher Matsuzaka and manager Francona walk back to the dugout after Matsuzaka was removed from the game against the Orioles in Boston Getty Images

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports heard from a source late Wednesday evening that Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka is considering undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery following his visit this week with Dr. Lewis Yocum.

According to Brown’s source, the Los Angeles-based Yocum found a “significant tear” in Matsuzaka’s throwing elbow and recommended the procedure. Dice-K will meet with the Red Sox front office and medical staff before any decisions are made.

The 30-year-old signed a six-year, $52 million contract with the Red Sox in December of 2006 after Boston paid the Seibu Lions over $51 million for exclusive negotiating rights. He’s making $10 million this season and is owed another $10 million in 2012.

If Matsuzaka undergoes Tommy John surgery, there’s a chance he won’t return before the end of that deal. Recovery times vary, but it can often take over 15 months for some starting pitchers to fully heal.

Matsuzaka has posted a 49-30 win-loss record, a 4.25 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in his four-plus rocky years with Boston. He drew Cy Young Award votes in 2008, by far his best season to date. The Tokyo native had a 5.30 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 26/23 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this year before he was shut down in mid-May.


UPDATE: Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston is now reporting that Dice-K has elected to have Tommy John surgery and will inform the Red Sox Thursday morning. He’s likely to undergo the procedure early next week.

  1. kiwicricket - Jun 1, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    *Theo thinks to himself ‘Hmmmm……What’s Sidney Ponson’s stem-cell status?’

    • Glenn - Jun 1, 2011 at 11:03 PM

      I think he ate all of his stem cells.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 9:55 AM

        Ha Ha Ha Ha

  2. phukyouk - Jun 1, 2011 at 11:20 PM

    oh crap.. what will the Sox do now? wait.. there is still Lackey…

    • purdueman - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:13 AM

      Bwahahahaha! Lackey! Bwahahahaha! Those of us who live here in Southern California laugher our arses off when we heard what Boston paid this most appropriately named pitcher!!!

    • mjaugelli - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:09 PM


  3. virusgvr - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    Honestly, what a waste of 100 million dollars. Stop me if I am wrong here, but didn’t the Sox have to pay 50 million just to talk to him and then signed him to some 50-55 million dollar deal. What did this guy do to warrant that kinda money? I at least fought a war for this country, went to school to learn something, and I cant even find a 36k a year job. And he makes 10 million a year to go out there 30-35 games a year and suck for most of them. What an awesome country we all live in!!!

    • dan1111 - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:20 AM

      Obviously, this deal didn’t work out for the Red Sox. However, injury is always a risk when giving a pitcher a big contract. Matsuzaka had an elite track record in Japan and showed potential when healthy here. It’s not clear that this signing was a mistake, given the information available at the time.

      As for your second point, what an awesome country we live in, indeed: we have a free market system that allows people to allocate their resources in whatever way they choose. Millions of us (including you, probably, based on the fact that you are reading a baseball blog) choose to spend money watching a frivolous but entertaining activity. This creates a demand that leads to high salaries for the elite few who are good at it.

      I’m sorry that you can’t find a job. That stinks. But Daisuke’s salary isn’t the reason.

  4. pisano - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    What a shock! I thought this guy was iron clad.(lol) I think he’s been on the DL more than he’s been off of it, but on the bright side if he gets the surgery the Sox will probably be rid of him as the recovery time is over a year and his contract should expire by then.

    • dan1111 - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:22 AM

      “on the bright side” the Sox will get no value for the rest of his contract. I’d hate to hear the bad news.

  5. dcburden - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    Hope they sprung for the insurance.

  6. uyf1950 - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:01 AM

    The humanitarian in my feels terrible about this. That any athlete has to have surgery and have their career put on hold.
    The Yankees fan in me says I thought the Red Sox were supposed to have this “uber-pitching” staff. The only one who is having a better season then last year is Beckett (considerably better I might add in the interest of truth, justice and the American way). The other starters and the one’s called into service are not exactly having their best years and that includes the relief pitchers of Wheeler, Bard, Jenks and Papelbon. There I feel better now.
    In any case I hope all goes well with the operation and Dice K gets his career back on track. Although it will probably be in Japan, unless some other major league team is willing to take a flyer on him, because I think his time is Boston has just about run out.

    Just a side note or comment. It makes you wonder, Dice K was supposed to be one of Japan’s best and if Boston’s experience in this case will make other Major League teams shy aware from pitchers from Japan in the future.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:00 AM

      “Just a side note or comment. It makes you wonder, Dice K was supposed to be one of Japan’s best and if Boston’s experience in this case will make other Major League teams shy aware from pitchers from Japan in the future.”

      Hideki Irabu didn’t do that already?

      • uyf1950 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:16 AM

        Apparently not. Since the Red Sox signed Dice K after Irabu left baseball.

      • purdueman - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:32 AM

        ufy… the lesson to be learned here is to never give any Japanese pitchers big long term guaranteed contracts!

        What seldom is written about is that in Japan they have their pitchers typically throw 100 or more pitches every day. Over the six or so years that it takes before they can become free agents, that’s an awful lot of unnecessary wear and tear on pitchers arms. Add to that that pitchers who come over from Japan historically run out of gas by mid-August due to MLB’s MUCH longer season, and it’s simply a gamble IMO not worth taking.

        For that matter the overall success rate of Japanese players coming over to MLB has been for the most part disappointing. Ichiru and Gozilla are the exceptions, but after those two players there’s a big drop off in terms of what these guys have brought to their teams over the life of their contracts. That’s why some GM’s (most notably Kenny Williams), have completely pulled their scouting staffs out of Japan.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:42 AM

        “Apparently not. Since the Red Sox signed Dice K after Irabu left baseball.”

        Yeah, but Kei Igawa has worked out pretty well though…ugh. That move was meant to counter the Dice K one. What an incredible waste of money. I can’t see how scouts watched him and thought he’d be a legitimate big league pitcher.

      • uyf1950 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:44 AM

        I think there is also a difference between signing a Japanese position player versus a Japanese Pitcher.

      • uyf1950 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:51 AM

        deathmonkey – you completely misinterpreted my initial comment on Dice K. It was not an indictment of the Red Sox at all. Believe me I more so then any biased anti Yankees fan realize the error of signing Igawa. My post was an indictment of Japanese Pitchers. So lighten up, not every post by a Yankees fan is a slap in the face to the Red Sox or their fans.

      • deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM

        I got that uyf1950- wasn’t questioning your post. Just re-living some horrible nightmare signings by the Yanks is all. “The Roger Clemens of Japan” phrase still brings shivers to my spine. Fat worthless bastard.

  7. thinman61 - Jun 2, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but under the terms of the contract isn’t TJ supposed to be a team decision, not a player decision?

  8. dirtyharry1971 - Jun 2, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    this is terrible news, i hope its not true. I feel terrible for redsuk nation as i can clearly remember a few years ago when they were bragging about signing this guy away from the Yanks. Please come back dice K!!! And if nothing else at least be ready for next season!

  9. purdueman - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    So much for trying to buy a pennant!

  10. patsandsox - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    I personaly would rather have wakefield throw his knuckleballs than watch dicek nibble.

    I think he will have a couple decent years in the NL after he recovers. He seems to be a more NL type of pitcher.

    I hope he recovers fine and all no personal anti Dice feelings just he didnt work.

    I agree with the Yankees fan that these Japanesee pitchers dont work out very well in the Majors.

    At the time it seemed like a good deal. I remember the gyroball craze and even bought a tshirt. Its great for oil changes

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