Hopes of a nation are riding on ace

Originally Published: December 11, 2006
By Jim Allen | Special to ESPN.com

TOKYO -- Even if it sometimes has taken longer than expected, Daisuke Matsuzaka has always delivered, and Japan's fans are counting on him to do so again.

As the deadline approaches for the right-handed wunderkind to put pen to paper and officially make the big league leap, few doubt that somehow Matsuzaka once more will get it done for Japan.

It took five years for the youngster, who dominated this baseball-mad nation's consciousness as an 18-year-old high schooler, to win his first Japan ...

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