After six years, Matsui is finally back
Hideki Matsui’s first year with the Yankees was 2003, and though the Bombers lost in that World Series to the Marlins, the thought was that they’d be back time and time again as the seasons went on. Not so, as it turned out. It has taken until 2009, perhaps Matsui’s final year in pinstripes, to get back to this point.
“Certainly, the frustration was there,” Matsui said Sunday through an interpreter. “Any time you lose, it
leaves a bitter feeling in your mouth. So not having been able to get
back here to the World Series, and in addition to that, being that it’s
the goal that I strive for every year, certainly it was frustrating.”
Matsui has been relegated to a pinch-hitter and emergency outfielder for these games in Philadelphia, though there was some thought to playing him out there. In the end, the Yankees looked at Matsui’s balky knees and his rustiness playing the outfield before Game 3 and decided that Matsui would be on the bench.
“As far as how my knees feel, overall I feel pretty good,” Matsui said. “As far as playing the outfield, there are certain factors that, I guess, are still unknown or untested. I haven’t been in the outfield obviously, and the weather and so forth. But as far as how I feel, the knees feel good right now.”
Everyone seems well aware of the idea that this could be Matsui’s last turn in a Yankees uniform. Nobody knows for sure what the future holds, but the Yankees have internally considered the idea of a revolving-door DH position for next year, allowing players like Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira to take turns.
What that means for Matsui remains to be seen. But if this is his final go-around, as he said in the first days of Spring Training, he would like to cap it with a World Series title.