With the Mets having five healthy starters (save for Jenrry Mejia’s blister issues and Bartolo Colon’s back problems), the only chance where Matsuzaka can make his mark with the club is in the bullpen. It’s not a place Matsuzaka is used to, as he only made one relief appearance in his career.
So how will Matsuzaka adapt to this new role?
Well, considering this is his only chance to pitch in the big leagues at the moment, Matsuzaka has to embrace this role. Maybe it could lead to bigger and better things.
As you might expect, Matsuzaka was pitching well in Las Vegas after he had himself a solid spring. In two starts with the 51s, Matsuzaka has pitched 12 innings while giving up three runs on seven hits. Unfortunately, he has issued six walks but has also struck out 12 batters in the process.
By most accounts, Matsuzaka should not be pitching in the minors. He’s no spring chicken and he’s past his prior health issues. He’s been a force in the majors before and can be one yet again. So, the Mets wanted to bring him up and make him earn his pay while reinventing himself in the bullpen. There really is no use for him in Las Vegas.
This is certainly new ground for Matsuzaka and here’s to hoping he seizes his new opportunity. With the Mets getting inconsistent play from their bullpen, the hope here is that Matsuzaka can at least stabilize the pen with his experience and veteran moxy. This way you might as well use an asset the best way you can.
Plus, with the addition of Matsuzaka, he will be there in the case the Mets need a fill-in pitcher in the coming weeks-which is bound to happen.
So, while this is foreign territory for Matsuzaka, he has to be a good solider and make the most of this opportunity. If he excels, it will only bolster the Mets shaky bullpen.
Who knows what happens after that, as things like having too much pitching tend to work out in the end.
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