• Godzilla Reduced To D.H. Duty

    Posted by on February 18th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    Via Anthony DiComo:

    The Yankees announced on Wednesday that all of [Hideki] Matsui’s Spring Training action will come as a designated hitter, and that he won’t play much left field during the season, either.

    Coming off knee surgery for the second successive winter, Matsui entered camp saying that his goal was to rehab his knees back to full strength. And for Matsui to achieve that, the Yankees decided he would be better served as a DH, without the rigors of regular outfield play.

    “We just feel it’s not in our best interest to push it there in that situation,” manager Joe Girardi said. “For him to hit, he has to have his legs underneath him.”

    It’s not really my decision, as far as how I’m used in the lineup,” Matsui said through an interpreter. “I’m going to continue to make sure I prepare for the game. I’ll make sure I prepare to play defense as well. But as far as the decisions are concerned, that’s beyond my control.”

    Regardless, Matsui said that he agrees completely with the decision, but he won’t completely abandon his defensive preparations. Despite his age and injury history — he’s had two knee surgeries and a major wrist injury over the past three seasons — Matsui said that he envisions playing the outfield again in the future.

    “As long as I do the things I need to do, take care of the knees and make sure I be diligent in my preparations,” Matsui said, “then I believe that I will be able to continue playing in the outfield.”

    How did Hideki Matsui go from being Cal Ripken Jr. into being Tony Oliva in what seems like the blink of an eye? Regardless of his role, I hope that Godzilla has a big season in the Bronx this year. It would be good for the Yankees – and a nice send-off for a good guy in what most likely will be his last season in Yankeeland.

    Comments on Godzilla Reduced To D.H. Duty

    1. jmeisner
      February 18th, 2009 | 11:34 pm

      I’d honestly be surprised if we see Hideki in more than 100 games this season. Dude’s knees just seem to have completely given out, and that doesn’t just affect a player’s fielding and baserunning, it affects their hitting as well. No base beneath a hitter, no ability to drive the ball.

    2. antone
      February 18th, 2009 | 11:42 pm

      File this one under…DUH!

    3. February 18th, 2009 | 11:43 pm

      jmeisner – reading this news, I fear you might be right…

    4. David
      February 18th, 2009 | 11:54 pm

      It should be pointed out that signing Matsui to a expensive, 2-year contract was a bad decision by Cashman.

    5. February 18th, 2009 | 11:57 pm

      I don’t blame Cashman for this one. I would have done the same thing.

    6. Evan3457
      February 19th, 2009 | 6:28 am

      It was a 4-year contract, not a 2-year contract, and it came at the end of a 3-year contract in which Matsui played EVERY game in each of the 3 seasons. In the last of the 3 years, he hit .307, with 71 EBH and 23 HR, scored 108 runs, and knocked in 116.

      Opinions vary, but I think that was at least a tolerable decision by Cashman; certainly can’t be construed as a “bad” one.

    7. February 19th, 2009 | 7:38 am

      I always suspected Matsui was lying about his age. The man appears to be at least 50 years old.

    8. Corey
      February 19th, 2009 | 9:22 am

      i always suspected past steroid use for the bad knees and rapid degredation

    9. Evan3457
      February 19th, 2009 | 3:14 pm

      Matsui is from Japan, not the Dominican Republic.

      I’d tend to think that the Japanese are a bit more meticulous about birth records.

    10. Raf
      February 19th, 2009 | 5:49 pm

      Even if his knees were healthy, you want to keep him out of the field. He isn’t very good defensively, and that’s pitting it mild…

    11. Evan3457
      February 19th, 2009 | 7:47 pm

      Yeah, Raf is pretty much on target here.

      Just for the record, Hideki was an aggregate -12 according to the BIS +/- numbers over roughly a full season’s worth of innings over the last 3 years. That’s about 6 runs below average as a left fielder.

      On the other hand, UZR has him as averaging -15 runs per 150 games over not quite 4 full seasons as a left fielder. UZR does show him a little closer to the BIS number, about -11 runs per 150 over the last 3 seasons. That’s still pretty awful. Almost Abreu awful, in fact.

      Just for funsies, his numbers in center are comically bad, -28 runs per 150 games in about a half-season of CF play.

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