Let’s Blow This Joint: Might a Bothersome Knee Spark Matsui’s Return To Japan?

August 17, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The Yankees got bad news on Sunday as Hideki Matsui will be out indefinitely with a balky knee that may need to be drained again.

Matsui, 35, is in the final year of the four-year, $52 million contract he signed at the end of 2005 and some people have speculated that this may be the final year for Matsui in pinstripes.

One rumor during this season even speculated that Matsui may return to Japan in 2010 to play his final days of baseball in his home country.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the team will re-evaluate Matsui’s knee to see if he can play in the Oakland A’s series, which starts Monday night.

Matsui’s knees have been bothering him as of late.

After playing in the final game at the old Yankee Stadium, Matsui ended his 2008 on Sept. 22 by having arthroscopic knee surgery. Matsui also had to have his knee drained earlier in the season.

Matsui has been a very important part of the Yankees offense in 2009; batting .266 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI in 104 games played.

In 2008, Matsui was limited to just 93 games due to injuries while batting .294 with nine home runs and 45 RBI.

The Yankees will have to hope that Matsui’s knee is just tired and doesn’t need further work done on it, because if it does and Matsui is forced out for the rest of 2009, that leaves a hole in the Yankee offense.

Matsui was once considered to be the most consistent of the Yankees hitters, always hitting near .300 and driving in 100 RBI when healthy.

With Matsui out, guys like Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston could see more playing time and Girardi might have to use alternate lineups with different guys at the DH spot.

Guys like Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez all could be used in the DH role, while getting a day off from the field.

Rodriguez could benefit from playing DH a few more times because his hip is still bothering him from the surgery he had in March.

But the best thing Yankees fans can hope for is getting Matsui healthy for a potential post-season run. Matsui is a career .302 hitter in the playoffs with six home runs and 26 RBI in 41 career post-season games.

Another injury would be the worst way for Matsui to end his tenure in pinstripes. Matsui has been a class act since coming over from Japan in 2003 and a very popular player and deserves to go out on his own terms in the Bronx.

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