Dice-K gets Minors deal, spring invite from Mets

Right-hander went 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA in seven outings with club last season

Dice-K gets Minors deal, spring invite from Mets

Daisuke Matsuzaka rejoined the Mets on Friday, signing a Minor League contract with the club that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Matsuzaka figures to have a shot to compete with recently signed veteran John Lannan and Jenrry Mejia for the final rotation spot, though he will likely start the year in the Minors and provide pitching depth.

The 33-year-old righty made seven starts with the Mets last year after signing on with the organization shortly after being released by the Indians. Matsuzaka went 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA in those seven outings, striking out 33 hitters over 38 2/3 innings.

Prior to joining the Mets, Matsuzaka had struggled in recent years. He went just 17-22 with a 5.53 ERA over his final four seasons in Boston from 2009-12. The righty dealt with a series of arm injuries in '09 and later revealed he also pitched through a hip injury for part of the season.

It showed in Matsuzaka's numbers, which were a staggering drop-off from his first two seasons in Boston when he went a combined 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA. He finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2007 in his highly anticipated transition from the Japan Pacific League and followed it up by finishing fourth in the AL Cy Young Award voting the next year.

Matsuzaka signed a Minor League contract with the Indians prior to last season, but he never reached the Majors with the Tribe. He went 5-8 with a 3.92 ERA over 19 starts with Triple-A Columbus before he was turned loose and scooped up by the Mets two days later.

For his career, Matsuzaka is 53-40 with a 4.52 ERA in 124 big league outings.

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.