Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays designate Hideki Matsui for assignment

The Tampa Bay Rays have designated veteran DH/OF Hideki Matsui for assignment.

The move was made to make room for INF Ryan Roberts, who was acquired Tuesday night from the Diamondbacks.

Matsui, 38, who signed a minor league deal with Tampa Bay in late April, had been struggling mightily, hitting .147, and in a 0-for-16 hitless streak.

Whether it is the end of the line for Matsui's big-league career remains to be seen. The two-time All-Star, and former World Series MVP with the Yankees in 2009 has 10 days to clear waivers, get traded. It's unclear whether Matsui would accept an assignment to Triple-A Durham if he made it through waivers.

With OF Sam Fuld returning from the disabled list, and Roberts acquired, room - and time - was simply running out for Matsui to get things going offensively. Matsui, a career .282 hitter with five seasons of 20-plus home runs, hasn't looked right at the plate. He has said part of it was mechanical issues, which he's still not worked through, though added "it's no excuse."

"During a game you can't really pay attention to your mechanics and you just have to make the most out of the opportunities that are given to you. Obviously, the results aren't there, but the best thing that can be done is to get ready for the next opportunity and make sure you're prepared."

Matsui, a legend back in Japan, brought some fanfare - and dozens of Japanese media - when he signed in late April. The media core followed Matsui with the Rays wherever he went.

The Rays have praised Matsui for how professional he's been, how hard he's worked, but it just hasn't worked out.

"In spite of all the years that he played, he's a very proud man," Maddon said Sunday. "He still wants to do well, and I know he feels he can still do well. So he's not used to this kind of failure in a baseball sense because he's always been so good. I know that. I can see it in his face. I know how hard he's trying."

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