The Chunichi Dragons are parting ways with former major leaguer Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has been given an opportunity to sign with another team for next season as he works his way back from a right shoulder injury.
On Friday, Dragons president Hiroyuki Kato told reporters the move was made to accommodate the 39-year-old veteran right-hander, who signed with the Central League club after passing a closed-door tryout in the 2017 offseason.
“Matsuzaka has requested to be released from the team, and we agreed,” Kato said.
Matsuzaka earned his first win in 12 years in NPB in April 2018, when he went 6-4 in 11 games with a 3.74 ERA and won the 2018 Comeback Player of the Year Award after missing nearly three full years.
During his career combined between Japan and MLB, including six seasons with the Boston Red Sox and two seasons with the New York Mets, Matsuzaka has 170 wins.
In February, as he was preparing for his 21st career season, he developed discomfort in his right shoulder after a fan yanked his throwing arm during an event at spring training in Okinawa. This season he appeared in just two games, going 0-1.
Matsuzaka has a history of injuries. He underwent surgery on his right shoulder in the summer of 2015, the year he returned to Japan from the major leagues and joined the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He pitched just one inning for the Hawks in three seasons.
He also underwent elbow ligament reconstructive surgery in 2011 while with the Red Sox.