ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Hideki Matsui homered in his second at-bat of the season after the Tampa Bay Rays purchased his contract Tuesday from Triple-A Durham. The team announced the move before Tuesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox. Matsui was immediately inserted into manager Joe Maddon‘s lineup, batting sixth and starting in left field.
After hitting a fly to left in the second inning, Matsui connected for a long two-run homer to right during the fourth against White Sox starter Philip Humber. It was Matsui’s first home run since Sept. 19 against the Texas Rangers while with the Oakland Athletics.
“You’ll see him in left field, you’ll see him as a DH and you’ll see him pinch hit,” Maddon said. “I’m just really eager to have him here. A very classy kind of a guy.”
Matsui, who will turn 38 on June 12, played 13 games with Durham after signing a minor league contract with Tampa Bay on April 30. He hit .170 with four RBI for Durham, where he played in left field four times. “Defensively, I didn’t have any issues at all,” Matsui said through a translator. “So, I think I was able to get some games in and get ready for this.”
Matsui has played nine seasons in the major leagues, with the New York Yankees (2003-09), Los Angeles Angels (2010) and the Athletics (2011), following a 10-year career with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Central League.