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Matsuzaka takes Triple-A assignment

Kyodo

Cleveland Indians minor league right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka has accepted assignment with Triple-A Columbus after the team notified him on Monday that he will not be part of the Opening Day roster.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona and general manager Chris Antonetti called a meeting with Matsuzaka the same day, and expressed a desire to have him remain in the organization.

“I had expected this to some degree. But I’d like to stay on with the team,” said Matsuzaka, who yielded two runs in eight innings in four Cactus League starts this spring.

The 32-year-old Matsuzaka, a six-year free agent after playing with the Boston Red Sox, signed a minor league deal with Cleveland this winter.

He qualifies for a $100,000 retention bonus by accepting the minor league assignment, and he can opt out of his contract by June 1 if he is not promoted to the majors by that time.

On March 11, Matsuzaka lasted just one inning in an outing against the Los Angeles Angels after cramping his right calf, and he lacked sufficient time to get ready for Opening Day.

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not the end. I’m making a fresh start from today.”

Last season, Matsuzaka was 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA in 11 starts with the Red Sox after returning from a one-year absence due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.