Japanese Baseball

Lions' Daisuke Matsuzaka undergoes cervical spine surgery

Kyodo

Saitama Seibu Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka underwent cervical spine surgery at a hospital in Ibaraki Prefecture on July 5, the Pacific League club said Sunday.

According to the team, Matsuzaka had been experiencing greater degrees of neck pain and numbness in his right hand since around May when practices were being severely disrupted by measures initiated to limit the spread of the coronavirus in Japan.

The 39-year-old was discharged from the hospital on Sunday and is expected to make a full recovery in two to three months, giving him a chance to pitch for Seibu's top team later this season.

"First, we just want him to do his rehab well and get game ready," Lions general manager Hisanobu Watanabe said in a comment.

"I think the fans are looking forward to seeing him play this season, so I hope he's able to return to MetLife Dome."

Matsuzaka rejoined the Lions in December after a 14-year hiatus spent largely in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets.

He had been tuning up well during Seibu's spring camp and tossed a scoreless inning in a practice game on June 7 while training with the Lions' second team.

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