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August 04, 2006

The Return Of Hideki Matsui

From the Journal News -

Left fielder Hideki Matsui had his surgically repaired left wrist examined and X-rayed yesterday by Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser in Manhattan. While the wrist has healed, lingering tenderness prevented Matsui from being cleared to take batting practice as he initially hoped.

The Yankees said after yesterday's 8-1 win over Toronto that Matsui will be re-examined next week.

Since Matsui broke the wrist diving for a ball on May 11 against the Red Sox, he's furiously prepared for a quick return. He's been running and throwing for the past month.

Although no date has been set for his return, the Yankees don't expect him back for about another month.

On the day that Matsui got hurt, I said to look at Derrek Lee for a recovery time.

And, where is Lee now? He got hurt about three weeks before Matsui did this year. Lee was out for about 10 weeks and then came back. But, it was too soon and he was back on the D.L. about 4 weeks later.

Matsui has been out for about 12 weeks now. Based on what we've seen with Lee, I'm guessing that Hideki will not be ready to play again until September 15th - which is around when the Yankees are saying he will be back.

There will be just 2 weeks left to the season on September 15th.

At this point, if Melky continues to do well, I think the Yankees have to leave Cabrera in LF - even when Matsui comes back. I'd rather have him out there in the post-season than a rusty Matsui. (And, I love Matsui.)

Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 4, 2006 08:23 AM


Steve, I agree 100%, a little shocked at myself, but total agreement on every word. You don't "rehab" or "get your groove" in the last 2 weeks of what will undoubtedly be a divisional race.

Posted by: Scott Coulter [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 09:17 AM

Here's my question - what if Matsui comes back on 9/15 and plays like complete crap for the last two weeks of the season? Do we put him on the playoff roster in the hopes that he gets straightened out? Or do we keep him off if it's apparent that despite being medically cleared to play, he's as rusty as one would expect after a four-month layoff?

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 09:53 AM

Seeing Godzilla's 'tude to date, in that case, I think he would be fine with being left off.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 10:10 AM

Since Melky is replacing Matsui and Abreu replacing Sheff, but Cairo is replacing Cano, it is much more important for Cano to get back here than the other two. The team can survive with Abreu and Melky in the corners. Cairo and Green at second creates a void there and at the bottom of the lineup.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 12:38 PM

I agree with the Cano comment. He'd make a nice 7th or 8th hitter, wouldn't he?

Is it safe to say that the final playoff roster spot will come down to Matsui, Crosby, and Phillips? I don't see a need for Phillips with Wilson on the team, so it really comes down to Matsui and Crosby.

Let's say it's game 7 of the ALCS, Papelbon is in, Yanks down by 1, Giambi is on first base, Craig Wilson is at bat. Would you rather use Matsui as a pinch hitter or Crosby as a pinch runner?

Posted by: Xopher [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 01:23 PM

I don't know how much Matsui works out in the offseason, but he rakes during spring training. He hit like .500 this year. If he's not working out at all, then it shouldn't matter TOO much.

Xopher: Although I agree that Bubba is a much better defensive replacement, Matsui's bat potential alone warrants him the spot over Bubba. It's not even close either.

Posted by: Rich [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 01:48 PM

I find hard to imagine Matsui would be left off the postseason roster. Impossible, actually. If he's back, he's in. I agree that you don't necess. want to put him in the field, but we can DH him for a couple of weeks to get his bat back.

Posted by: Josh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 02:15 PM

What a difference a week makes, huh? We've gone from debating whether or not to keep Nick Green or Aaron Guiel, to debating whether or not Matsui gets a roster spot.

Posted by: Xopher [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 02:32 PM

When Matsui comes back, he'll probably play DH at first anyhow. Regardless of how he plays in the field, so long as his wrist holds up, he'll get playing time in the playoffs. At least in theory, it would be great if we could open up like a 5 or 6 game lead and allow Matsui and/or Sheffield the chance to warm up. Because even if they cannot play every game, their bats in the playoffs (even coming off of the bench) as veterans with skills is irreplaceable (assuming the roster space is there).

Posted by: Seamus [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 04:45 PM

I guess it's a moot point now...Bubba was designated for assignment before today's game.

Posted by: Xopher [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2006 09:02 PM