Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays say they'll stick with struggling Hideki Matsui

ST. PETERSBURG — Hideki Matsui's extended struggles and repeated failures have made it a popular question of how long the Rays are going to stick with the veteran OF/DH.

But as long as Matsui is on the team, manager Joe Maddon said he'll keep using him in key situations.

Sunday, that meant pinch-hitting with the tying and winning runs on base with two outs in the ninth. Matsui swung at the first pitch and popped out to short.

That extended his hitless streak to 0-for-16, lowered his average to .147 and extended his July log of runners left stranded to 25 of 26.

"That's what he's here for," Maddon said. "You have a man of his caliber, a man of his esteem on the bench right there. I know he's been struggling but at any moment it could possibly pop up and bite you in a good way.

"If he hits the ball in the gap right there, two guys score and all of a sudden he's feeling pretty good about himself and we've got another really good option to go to."

With DH Luke Scott back on the disabled list, Matsui, 38, seems likely to stick around for a while. OF Sam Fuld is on track to be activated from the DL on Tuesday, but he'll take the open spot on the roster (as reliever Brandon Gomes was called up and sent back down Sunday) and, from what Maddon is saying, is going to be used in more of a fourth outfielder/pinch-hit role.

So Matsui — who said Saturday he remains confident in his abilities and might need just some slight mechanical adjustments — may continue to get opportunities.

"Things have to work a certain way, and you have to give moments a different chance to play themselves out," Maddon said. "That was the right spot for him to hit in right there. It did not work out. That's why he's on the team."

MORE MOORE: Rookie LHP Matt Moore gave the Rays exactly what they needed Sunday: a strong and long start, allowing only two early runs over a career-high eight innings.

Even though Moore ended up with his seventh loss, he took some positives out of the performance, the first of his 20 major-league starts without a walk.

"Just the feeling of running out there for the eighth inning and walking off the field after the eighth, it … makes you feel a little bit accomplished," he said. "Especially when your goal is to work deep into the game and give the boys a shot that night. After those early runs, I was pretty satisfied with what happened."

Maddon noted some questionable pitch selection early but said Moore was impressive overall. "He settled in, got a great tempo working with his delivery," Maddon said. "The curveball got better. The changeup got better, better spots. The fastball was pretty good all night I thought. Just a couple of pitch-selection moments early, but I thought he did a great job."

COBB SET: RHP Alex Cobb has some swelling, discoloration and a little bit of pain in his bruised right leg when he first got out of bed Sunday morning, but he said he was confident he would be able to make his next start, scheduled for Friday in Anaheim. He was knocked out of Saturday's game when struck on the right leg by an Ichiro Suzuki grounder.

"If I'm feeling then like I am right now, I should be fine," Cobb said.

REHAB REPORT: Fuld, who had right wrist surgery in the spring, went 0-for-2 and played seven innings in right for Triple-A Durham on Sunday in his 10th rehab game (hitting .161 overall) and appears likely to be reinstated. … 3B Evan Longoria, out since April 30 with a partial tear of his left hamstring, will join the team on the road and increase his amount of onfield activity. "He's doing good," Maddon said. "He's really doing well."

MISCELLANY: Among other scouts at the Trop this weekend were Angels pro scouting director Hal Morris and Tigers special assistant Dick Egan. … Rays pitchers struck out 40 Mariners, a team record for a three-game series. … Gomes took his hectic same-day promotion/demotion well: "Any day here is a great day."

Tampa Bay Rays say they'll stick with struggling Hideki Matsui 07/22/12 [Last modified: Sunday, July 22, 2012 9:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.