Duckworth, Mathis Sign with Japan

The final two remaining members of the PawSox Opening Day rotation are now not only gone, they’re a world away.

Right-handers Brandon Duckworth and Doug Mathis have signed to play professional baseball in Japan and were officially released from their Red Sox contracts late Wednesday. While pitching overseas doesn’t carry the same prestige as Major League Baseball in the United States, for many it can be a wise financial option and a terrific opportunity.

Duckworth and Mathis join former Toledo designated hitter Brad Eldred (Japan) and Lehigh Valley starter Dave Bush (Korea) as 2012 International League alums to sign abroad.

Duckworth has spent parts of eight years (511.0 IP) in the Major Leagues with Philadelphia, Houston, and Kansas City. (Kelly O’Connor)

Duckworth, 36, has been one of the most reliable starters in the league all season. He ranks among the I.L. leaders in ERA (8th, 3.17) wins (T-3rd, 9), and innings pitched (11th, 110.2) despite missing his most recent scheduled start. In 2011 with the PawSox, Duckworth finished 8-6 with a 3.97 ERA over 22 appearances (21 starts).

From 2008-10, Mathis pitched in Arlington for the Texas Rangers. He went 3-3 with a 4.84 ERA over 45 appearances (six starts). (Kelly O’Connor)

For Mathis, 29, this marks his second trip to the Pacific Rim after pitching last year with the Samsung Lions in the Korea Baseball Organization.  In 19 appearances (18 starts) with Pawtucket this year, Mathis went 7-6 with a 4.07 ERA. June stands out as his best month where he put together a 2.50 ERA (10 ER/36.0 IP) while walking nine and striking out 27.

All the best to both Duck and Mathis. Both made terrific contributions to the PawSox and will no doubt do the same in Japan.



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