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After one frame, Dice-K exits with calf cramps


GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Daisuke Matsuzaka's bid to crack the Indians' rotation hit a minor snag. During Monday's Cactus League game against the Angels, the right-hander exited after one inning with cramps in his right calf.

Matsuzaka, who followed starter Scott Kazmir and reliever Joe Smith, took the mound for the seventh inning, but he stopped his warmup routine after a few throws. After a brief meeting on the mound, Cleveland manager Terry Francona patted the pitcher on the back, and Matsuzaka left the game with a team trainer and his interpreter.

"He was cramping in his calf," Francona said. "It's just hard to let a guy pitch like that, if he hurts himself. He came in after his first inning and he was trying to loosen it up. We told him when he went out, if it was bothering him, to let us know. You could tell when he was warming up he just couldn't get it to loosen up."

Matsuzaka worked a scoreless sixth inning prior to the injury.

This spring, the 32-year-old Matsuzaka has been competing against Kazmir -- who threw four scoreless frames against the Indians on Monday -- Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber for the fifth spot in Cleveland's rotation. Through four Cactus League appearances, including Monday's one-inning effort, Matsuzaka has posted a 2.25 ERA with three strikeouts, one walk and 10 hits allowed in eight innings.

Matsuzaka is in camp on a Minor League contract as a non-roster invitee.

Last season, Matsuzaka went 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA in 11 starts for the Red Sox during his comeback from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The righty has gone 17-22 with a 5.53 ERA in 56 games over the past four seasons after going 33-15 with a 3.72 in 61 games between the 2007-08 campaigns with Boston.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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