Daisuke Matsuzaka, 40, to make comeback in NPB. Olympic comeback, too?

Daisuke Matsuzaka, 40, to make comeback in NPB. Olympic comeback, too?
15/01/2021
The star-right hander, who played at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics with Samurai Japan, didn't play in 2020 after undergoing cervical spine surgery.

Daisuke Matsuzaka celebrated his 40th birthday on 13 September 2020, but he is not ready to retire from baseball. The Olympic bronze medallist and two-time World Baseball Classic MVP signed a one-year deal with the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

The right-handed pitcher played his first NPB season in 1999 for the Lions, where he earned 16 of his career 114 NPB wins and was voted Rookie of the Year, before leading the Lions to the Japan Series 2004.

He also represented Japan in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics where he was the ace of the Japanese staff at the Athens 2004 Games. Despite his star-performance, the highly favoured Samurai Japan lost the semifinal against Australia, 1-0. Japan won the third-place game against Canada and earned a bronze medal.

Matsuzaka also led Japan to the inaugural World Baseball Classic title in 2006, earning MVP honours. At the end of the 2006 season, he agreed terms with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). He led Boston to the 2007 World Series Title becoming the first player to win both a World Baseball Classic and a World Series.

Familiarly known as Dice-K in North American baseball, Matsuzaka returned to Japan in 2015 but appeared only in 35 games over five seasons for NPB's Softbank Hawks and Chunichi Dragons. He didn't play in 2020 after undergoing cervical spine surgery.

"I’m thankful they offered me a new contract," Matsuzaka told the Japan Times. "I’ll aim to win for the Lions next year and pay back the club and fans."

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