Dice-K, Bauer shine in Tribe debuts
GOODYEAR, Ariz -- Two of Cleveland's most high-profile acquisitions of the offseason made their Indians debuts on Sunday at separate venues across the Phoenix area.
In Goodyear against the Reds, Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed two hitless innings while walking one and hitting a batter in a 22-pitch outing during a 3-0 win. Meanwhile, about 20 minutes away in Maryvale vs. the Brewers, Trevor Bauer completed two scoreless frames despite allowing two hits in the Tribe's 7-4 victory.
"Today is a fun day," said Indians manager Terry Francona, who traveled with the team that played Milwaukee. "I wish I could be at both places."
The Indians signed Matsuzaka to a Minor League contract early this month to compete with Bauer, along with a handful of other arms, for the fifth spot in the rotation.
The Japanese right-hander, who underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2011 and finished with an 8.28 ERA over 11 outings last year with the Red Sox, was pleased with his first game experience in his new uniform Sunday despite the windy conditions he had to deal with.
"The winds were really strong today, so it wasn't the best of conditions but it's something that's bound to happen during the season, so I just tried to pitch my best and see what would work," said Matsuzaka through a translator.
The 32-year-old hit the first batter he faced, but on his next pitch he induced a ground-ball double play. Among the Reds batters he retired were Billy Hamilton, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.
"After he hit the first batter, he regained his command right away," said Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., acting as manager in Goodyear. "He pitched very well from the stretch and he was able to throw some good breaking balls when he needed to."
Matsuzaka's fastball topped out around 88-89 mph, but the righty isn't concerned about velocity this early into the spring.
"It's right where I expected my fastball to be at this stage," he said. "The more I throw, the deeper I go into Spring Training, I'm sure my velocity will get there. I just have to make sure I can stay healthy throughout the whole season."
The Indians aren't sure what they will get out of Matsuzaka this year, but if anyone knows what he is capable of when he's right, it's his old manager from Boston.
"Stuff across the board was solid, he had the ability like no other pitcher to wiggle out of jams," Francona said. "He'd have the bases loaded and no outs and we'd be sitting there on the edge of our seats, but he wasn't. He'd just get out of it. He had everything."