Rays Call Up Hideki Matsui: How Much is Left in the Veteran's Tank?
With the amount of injuries taking place, and the lack of hitting that has come with it, the Tampa Bay Rays are looking for anything to give them a bit more spark in the lineup.
Which brings us to Hideki Matsui, a career .285 hitter, who has appeared in a pair of All-Star games. But is there any resemblance of the old Matsui left?
It wouldn't seem to make much of a difference. After all, the Rays (besides Longoria who's on the DL) don't have anybody batting over .300, so the Rays will still take an almost 38-year-old Matsui way past his prime.
But what does the veteran still bring to the table? More experience and leadership would be a valuable asset for the Rays to have.
But it's what happens when Matsui steps into the batter's box that will decide how much of a difference he makes in Tampa Bay.
Matsui lost some of the pop in his bat last season, managing only 12 home runs in 141 games. This is coming after he had averaged twice that number in his other six healthy seasons in the MLB.
But through whatever decline Matsui may be in, the Rays will take any sort of hitting they can get, from any source they can get it from. Matsui hit .170 in his short stint at triple-A Durham, but it didn't waver the front office's mind to promote him.
And why should it? In Matsui, the Rays are receiving someone with a track record of impressive numbers, more than they can say for many of the replacements they've filled spots with so far this season.
A definite drawback is the fact Matsui may not be suitable for the field any longer, and is also yet another left-handed hitter on the Rays roster.
But with that said, manager Joe Maddon is bound to find a way he can utilize the former World Series MVP.
It seems that Matsui, despite nearing the end of his successful baseball career, would still make opposing pitchers think twice more than someone like Rich Thompson or Jose Lobaton would coming off the bench.
So may be Matsui isn't "Godzilla" any more, but he could still make a big impact for the Rays, a secret weapon of sorts.
Maddon is always looking for another rabbit to pull out of his New Era cap, another trick up his Majestic sleeves.
Even though his best days are over, Matsui could be just the added magic the Rays are in need of.