Daisuke Matsuzaka to retire from professional baseball after 2021 season

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14 seasons after making his highly-anticipated debut with the Boston Red Sox, Daisuke Matsuzaka says that he plans to retire from professional baseball when this season concludes.

Now 40 years old, Matsuzaka is currently employed by the Saitama Seibu Lions, who play in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. However, injuries have prevented him from actually pitching in a game since the 2019 season. Evidentially, Matsuzaka realizes that father time has caught up to him.

Here's a rough translation of a portion of the news story from Sponichi Annex in Japan:

"The numbness of my right hand did not come off until the end. Matsuzaka has survived major surgeries many times, but it seems that he has informed GM Watanabe Hisanobu of his intention to retire one year after the surgery on July 5, last year. A close source said, 'I don't feel the fingers of my right hand. I can't bother the team anymore.'"

Matsuzaka's professional career began at age 18 with the Lions, who he'd spend eight seasons with before earning a six-year/$52 million contract with the Red Sox ahead of the 2007 season. Mind you, just for the chance to negotiate with Matsuzaka, the Red Sox had already paid over $51 million.

Ultimately, a heavy international workload - both in Nippon Professional Baseball and the World Baseball Classic - caught up with the righty, with injuries perhaps preventing him from reaching his full potential in Major League Baseball. Granted, Matsuzaka helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2007, before going 18-3 with a 2.8 fWAR in 167 2/3 innings in 2008. But his eight seasons - six with the Red Sox, two with the New York Mets - didn't live up to the hype that he came with.

Nonetheless, Matsuzaka will go down as a legend in the sport, specifically in Japan. He was the MVP of the first two World Baseball Classics and his "Gyroball" is one of the nastiest pitches that baseball has ever seen:

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