Port St. Lucie, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Daisuke Matsuzaka has apparently won the fifth starter spot for the New York Mets, as the team agreed to pay the right-hander $100,000 on Tuesday in order to retain his rights.
The Mets had until noon on Tuesday to either pay Matsuzaka the $100,000 or release him and risk losing him to another team.
Matsuzaka entered spring training battling John Lannan for the fifth starting spot and then had to hold off Jenrry Mejia late in camp. Lannan, a left- hander, is expected to start the season in the bullpen, while the right-handed Mejia will likely go to Triple-A Las Vegas and join the starting rotation there.
In five games this spring, Matsuzaka pitched to a 3.86 ERA and struck out 17 in 18 2/3 innings. He walked four and allowed 21 hits. In his last start on Monday, he allowed three hits and one earned run in six-plus innings, striking out five and walking three.
Matsuzaka had signed a minor league deal with the Mets in the offseason. In seven games for the team last year after coming over from the Cleveland Indians organization, he posted a 3-3 record with a 4.42 ERA.
Matsuzaka spent the first six seasons (2007-2012) of his big league career with Boston, which won the bidding rights to the Japanese star with a bid over $51 million. In 123 career starts with the Red Sox and Mets, Matsuzaka is 53-40 with a 4.52 ERA.