3/24/2013 9:04 P.M. ET
Roster moves begin as Tribe releases Dice-K
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians began what will be a series of roster moves in the coming days by releasing veteran Japanese right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka from his Minor League contract after Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Cubs at Goodyear Ballpark.
The coming moves include the status of veteran Jason Giambi, which must be determined by Tuesday. Indians manager Terry Francona said earlier in the day that he would meet with general manager Chris Antonetti after the game to determine some of these decisions.
"Chris is coming back today and will get here about game time," Francona said. "We'll stay here after the game today and go over a lot of the stuff. I just told the players that we recognize it's the time of the spring where there's a lot anxiety. We'll do the best we can to make decisions as quickly as we can."
Matsuzaka, 32, made four appearances and one start this spring for the Indians, allowing two earned runs and 10 hits in eight innings. Matsuzaka pitched for Francona from 2007-11 in Boston, helping the Sox to the '07 World Series title with a 15-12 record and 4.40 ERA, adding two wins in the postseason.
He has battled a series of arm injuries and has made only 18 starts during the past two years, finishing his six-year tenure in Boston with a 3-3, 8.28 ERA, 2012 season. Francona resigned as Red Sox manager after the 2011 season.
Matsuzaka signed his most recent contract with the Indians on Feb. 13. There's a possibility that he could re-sign with the Tribe in the coming days since he has now agreed to go to the Minors and work himself into shape.
Giambi, 42, could be used as a left-handed bat off the bench and as a spot designated hitter against right-handed pitchers. The righty-swinging Mark Reynolds is projected right now as the regular DH. Giambi can become a free agent if the Indians don't place him on the big-league roster by Tuesday.
"They haven't told me anything yet," said Giambi, an 18-year veteran and American League MVP in 2000 for the A's who played the last three seasons as a part-timer for the Rockies.
Giambi is batting .207 (6-for-29) with three homers and five RBIs in 14 games for the Indians this spring. He actually interviewed for the open Rockies managerial position this past winter after Jim Tracy resigned. The Rockies eventually signed their own former shortstop, Walt Weiss.
Giambi is waiting anxiously on the bubble like a number of other players. Antonetti has been out of town, scouting college players, Francona said.
Asked if he had a gut feeling about Giambi, Francona refused to bite.
"Why would I say anything about that?" Francona said. "That's not fair. Why would I do that? I wouldn't do that publicly. That's not fair to anybody."
When it was noted that a decision was pending in two days on Giambi, Francona added: "I didn't know that. There's some days for a lot of guys and I'm not sure what every day is. We'll go over all that stuff tonight."
Aside from Giambi, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, catcher Yan Gomes and infielders Ryan Raburn and Cord Phelps are also all on the bubble. The Indians still have 40 players remaining in camp, 10 non-roster invitees. Many of them have been told already they have not made the team. Like every Major League club, the Indians must cut to 25 active players by Opening Day.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.