January 9, 2010

Matsuzaka Injured Right Leg Before WBC, Kept Condition A Secret

The Globe's Peter Abraham reports that Daisuke Matsuzaka told a Japanese magazine that he suffered a leg injury while training for the WBC. He then kept his condition a secret from the Red Sox, even as his altered mechanics led to a shoulder injury.

Dice:
Early on in January 2009, I hurt my right inner thigh. I consider movement around my hip joint a crucial part of my pitching motion. It happened during my exercise to strengthen my hip joint that I incorporated into training since 2008. I may have pushed myself just a little too hard. ...

I didn't want to be the center of concern for people. I didn't tell the trainers. Fortunately, I was in charge of my own training, so if it started to hurt, I could adjust to not hurt myself. But pitching while hiding the injury was very difficult. ...

My plan after the WBC was to heal myself while keeping my turn in rotation. But the condition didn't get better as the season went on. ... I couldn't use my lower body well, and I could not use my full body to generate the power. My fastball was not effective, therefore I lost effectiveness of my other pitches. In hindsight, it was impossible to continue faking the whole season, it was too much mental stress. ...

I didn't want to show my weaknesses. I didn't want them to think I was making excuses. I would rather be criticized than ridiculed for making excuses. ...

I am very sorry for making you worry. I assure you that the (2010) season will be a great season. I am going to redeem what I lost in 2009.
You're not "making excuses". You're fucking hurt.

Idiot.

I remember Theo Epstein's comments back on September 30 to Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti on WBCN. It was in reference to J.D. Drew not playing every day, but it still applies here.
One of the things we actually tell our players in the minor leagues is you need to be more honest with us about when you're hurting ... With the way we built this team, I would rather have a right fielder who plays at a very high level who plays in 130 games rather than someone who plays hurt, plays at a lesser level, and ends up playing 155. ... Now I have respect for the guy who guts it out all the time, but sometimes they can cross the line and be fool-hardy.

11 comments:

L-girl said...

Gah! This is maddening to hear!

It's more than being an idiot, though. It's the culture of sports - and more than that, the culture of men - that equates injury with weakness. It must be so ingrained, and possibly (I don't know) there is an additional cultural overlay for Dice, that not disclosing an injury becomes paramount, even as the effects of hiding it become starkly clear.

A lot would have to change before something like this stops happening.

9casey said...

But pitching while hiding the injury was very difficult. ...




Ya think, you had close to a 6 era.

I would like to see the Red Sox be as proactive with Beckett as they are with Dice , he just seems to me he comes into camp a little flabbier every year , and seems to break down at various points in the season....

Greg said...

I agree with L-girl.

The expectation in Japan is that the team "ace" must be a selfless, stoic warrior. Matsuzaka is loved here because of this quality (incidentally, Irabu was perceived as lacking in these virtues which made him much less popular).

As frustrating as it is for fans, hiding his injury then makes perfect sense as he tries to live up to this image (let alone the guilt/burden knowing that he is making ten times the salary of other "ace" pitchers friends in the Japanese pros).

I would bet that it won't happen again though. On a different level, in hindsight Matsuzaka realizes the stupidity of what he did. The practice of "hansei" (self-reflection/self-critique) will ensure that he tells the trainer next time-- for the team's sake. My hope is that as the number four starter he will pitch like the "ace" (or at least a number two) this coming season.

johngoldfine said...

Dice sounds so intelligent and articulate (in translation anyway) but what he says here is so deeply dumb. If not dumb, then as if coming from a wholly different part of his personality than his professionalism.

As l-girl says, something about macho, something about culture--but at his salary he ought to have given a little thought to the bigger picture and not played at secret agent man with his anxious boss:.

There's a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger
With every move he makes another chance he takes

Secret agent man, secret agent man
They've given you a number and taken away your name

Ah, be careful what you say
Or you'll give yourself away

L-girl said...

...odds are you won't live to see tomorrow...

(I'm not implying those lyrics are relevant. I just had to complete the stanza.)

Patrick said...

Yeah, he's an idiot, and ef him for the shitty Brad Penny/Smoltz/Tazawa/Bowden fill-ins we had to endure last year, but in another light this is fucking sweet...

He won't be injured, he will be working with the team, he wants to redeem himself.

We could have an INSANE rotation next year. Five guys with an ERA under 3.80. Is that fantasy so far fetched?

johngoldfine said...

I didn't want to go there, l-girl, not even figuratively.

;)

I'm looking forward with Patrick to the rotation of the decade.

Joe Grav said...

Patrick, that was my reaction, too. Matsuzaka will have a good season this year.

Amy said...

Didn't MDC pull similar idiocy, not disclosing an injury until after season?

James said...

I know that it's impossible to judge who a player really is, but I'm fairly confident that Dice-K is a shithead.

Patrick said...

Just to further fuel my excitement, I looked at ERA projections for our 5 starters (sorry Timmeh).

Lackey, Lester, and Beckett project around 3.60-3.80. Buchholz and Matsuzaka around 4.00.

With our supremely upgraded defense, I would (for my own enjoyment mostly) shave off .20 those projections.