“My desire is to play left field,” Matsui said through an interpreter. “That’s what I’ve been preparing for. Obviously, that’s not my decision to make. That will be the manager’s decision.”
But Matsui, 33, will face competition in left from the 34-year-old Johnny Damon, who lost his job as the center fielder to Melky Cabrera.
When asked about Matsui, Girardi said: “We’ve got to make sure that he is able to do all the things that he would need to do to play a defensive position. You’ve just got to see how things iron themselves out.”
Damon suggested earlier in the week that he, too, might play some games at first. But when asked whether Damon or Matsui might also play there, Girardi answered in the negative.
“We have no plans of putting Hideki at first base in spring training,” he said. Of Damon at first base, Girardi said: “Right now I really don’t have a lot of plans to put him at first base.”
I’m fan of Matsui. As I have said before, by season end, Matsui will score you 100 runs, drive in another 100, and hit 25 HR with a batting average around .290 – - but, he is a very steaky hitter.
An interesting item on Godzilla: Since coming to the states, he’s always had a monster month with the bat in July. And, with the exception of last season (when he was hurt), he’s always been a great September hitter too.
Both Damon and Matsui will be playing this season as 34-year olds coming off a year where they had an injury. It just seems to make sense to have them share LF and DH for the Yankees this season – to keep them both fresh.
I would start Damon in left (with Matsui as DH) at home as much as possible – because of the room in the Yankees outfield. But, on the road, especially in parks like Fenway, Camden, and Arlington, I don’t think you miss much with the glove when Matsui is out there (in left).
I hope that the Yankees work this out where it’s best for them and best for Matsui. If they can, I think he’s going to have a fine season for the team.