Matsuzaka, Capps won’t be on Tribe’s opening-day roster
An exhibit for an exhibition An employee of the Phoenix Zoo walks by the Athletics dugout with a Harris hawk named Merlin before a Cactus League game against the visiting Mariners, who won 6-5.
Pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Matt Capps were told yesterday that they would not be on the Cleveland Indians’ roster for opening day, but the organization does want them to stick around, polishing their skills in the minor leagues.
Because both players are major-league free agents signed to minor-league contracts, they have a right to flee the Indians on March 26. However, if each player accepts the offer of a $100,000 retention bonus from the Tribe, he is agreeing to be sent to the Clippers until June 1.
Matsuzaka and Capps have the right to refuse the bonus and become free agents. That might be beneficial to them if another club offers a roster spot. If not, maybe their quickest path back to the major leagues is to stay in the Indians organization, even if it means dropping down to triple-A.
“We’d like to keep both guys in the organization,” general manager Chris Antonetti said. “It’s a little different with both, but neither was going to make the opening-day roster. We thought we’d inform them now and keep them in camp and let them know that if and when they get back to full strength, we think they can help us.”
Matsuzaka, through his translator, said he wants to stay. It is believed that Matsuzaka is prepared to accept the retention bonus instead of trying to negotiate a new deal. Under the terms of his contract, he will receive a $1.5 million major-league salary should he make the club.
Capps is coming off a season in which he was stymied by a shoulder injury that did not require surgery. Matsuzaka hasn’t been the same since undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery in June 2011.
Health is not an issue right now with either pitcher except that each needs more time to build arm strength and endurance.
Asked if Capps is behind other bullpen contenders, Antonetti said, “A little bit. I think he feels good and feels healthy; he’s working his way back, headed in the right direction. But other guys are ahead of him.”
In four appearances in exhibition games, Capps, a former closer, has allowed two runs, four hits and three walks in four innings. Matsuzaka has worked in four exhibition games, allowing two runs, 10 hits and one walk in eight innings.
With four starters already named to the rotation — Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister and Bret Myers — Matsuzaka was one of three pitchers contending for the fifth spot. Scott Kazmir is the favorite to win the job, but Carlos Carrasco has pitched well lately.
— Sheldon Ocker
Akron Beacon Journal
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