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Dice-K's last hurrah set for Wednesday in Bronx

Dice-K's last hurrah set for Wednesday in Bronx

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Dice-K's last hurrah set for Wednesday in Bronx
NEW YORK -- Daisuke Matsuzaka's tenure with the Red Sox started with so much fanfare. It will end quietly, as the righty will pitch the final game of the season Wednesday against the Yankees.

Matsuzaka is a free agent after the season and the Red Sox aren't expected to bring him back.

His six-year tenure started with two solid seasons, only to be followed by four years marked by injuries and under-performance.

Matsuzaka has pitched 116 games for the Red Sox, going 50-36 with a 4.47 ERA. To get him, the Red Sox submitted a posting fee of $51.1 million to the Seibu Lions and then inked the righty to a six-year, $52 million contract.

Dice-K has pitched just 55 times over the last four seasons, going 17-21 with a 5.42 ERA.

"I'm not going to try to evaluate his overall time. I didn't really watch a lot of it," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I know that one year he won a lot of games and he won a seventh game or something. He has a bit of stuff on his resume.

"But this year, I didn't know what to expect coming back from an injury. ... I don't think he fully recovered [from Tommy John surgery]. He says he has and the training room says he has, but I still think there's a little mental hurdle he has to get over that's very similar, and I don't want to just lump Japanese guys into one category, but in Spring Training, [Junichi] Tazawa had a mental hurdle to get over and he wasn't throwing the ball the way he was capable of. And then one day he broke through. And I think the same thing happens with everyone coming back from injury."

After competing against Matsuzaka in Japan, Valentine enjoyed his one year with the righty.

"Well, I didn't get that chance to work with him that much, but [pitching coach] Randy [Niemann] was there a lot with him," Valentine said. "My interaction with him, I felt he was always a willing and able candidate to do whatever he was asked to do. He never rejected an idea. He always wanted to do well. I don't know if you could ask anything more."

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