The 2009 season is just about only two weeks old and already there’s a lot of news in Yankeeland.
Nick Swisher is bigger than Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were in 1983 and Pokémon was in 1999 – combined. A-Rod should be back ahead of schedule. Xavier Nady’s elbow has been examined by every doctor on the east coast – including Dr. Vinnie Boombatz. Joba Chamberlain and CC Sabathia each have pitched like Oliver Perez and/or Al Leiter in their last starts. Worm Killer Wang is searching for an answer. Damaso Marte is pitching like a so-so lady from Mars. Balls are flying out of the new Yankee Stadium. Derek Jeter is blasting clutch homers like it’s October or November.
Yet, with all the stuff going on with the Yankees now, the recent news on Godzilla is the one that bothers me the most. Via Jim Baumbach:
Hideki Matsui was not in the starting lineup Friday for the third time in four games because of fluid in his surgically repaired left knee, a condition Joe Girardi said will be an issue all season long.
Matsui admitted the knee might be affecting his hitting. He’s 4-for-27 (.148) and looked bad while striking out swinging in a pinch-hitting role in the eighth inning Friday.
Girardi insisted the disabled list is not an option right now but made it clear that Matsui’s status could be a, well, fluid situation from day to day. “It’s somewhat discouraging,” Girardi said, “but it’s something we’re going to have to deal with throughout the season because of where he’s at in his career with his knee.”
Matsui said he’d rather play through the discomfort than spend time on the disabled list, insisting it comes and goes rather quickly.
When Godzilla first joined the Yankees in 2003, he was less than advertised. But, he was far from terrible. And, in 2004 and 2005, Matsui was a very good player and quickly became a favorite of mine. Sadly, he had a freak injury in 2006. Still, he bounced back in 2007 and was among the four best hitters on the team that season.
Then, last season his knees started to go – and it’s still an issue now.
Based on what we hear, today, it looks like this could be the end for Godzilla. It’s a shame – because he was a good hitter and a very likeable guy. Matsui deserves a better exit than going out like the last shot out of a roman candle. It would feel so much better to see the big guy just wrecking pitchers with his bat…at least for me…for just one more year…