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Japanese MLB Players: Matsuzaka helps open a NIKE store, more Matsui notes

by on Nov.14, 2009 @ 2:52 pm, under MLB

...Daisuke Matsuzaka and Masumi Kuwata were on hand for the opening of the new NIKE Flagship Harajuku store on Saturday morning.

The two of them threw out ceremonial "first pitches" inside the store for the opening ceremony.

Said Matsuzaka, "I was worried about breaking a glass on the first day of the opening."

To which Kuwata quipped, "I'm not like Matsuzaka, I have good control."

Incidentally, I could not attend due to some unforeseen circumstances.

...The Royals exercised a $500,000 buyout to void Yasuhiko Yabuta's 2010 option.  Yabuta will keep his eyes open for offers from both MLB and NPB teams.

...Sponichi wonders if Kenshin Kawakami might be traded away now that the Braves have signed Tim Hudson to a 3-year extension.

...Sponichi is carrying an article with Joe Torre's comments on Hideki Matsui and how he should probably stay in the American League because of his cranky knees.

Another Sponichi article mentions that Dr. Scott Rodeo has given Matsui the green light to play in the outfield, up to 2-3 times a week.

The article also includes the following Q&A with Dr. Rodeo.

How are his knees right now?

We made the right decision.  After we cleaned out his knee, I told Matsui, "We need to take this year by year and make sure the knee heals properly."  Things won't get better right away, but it's much quicker than knee replacement surgery (?).

Plans moving forward?

There was damage in the cartilage near his thigh bone.  A fragment of that caused the inflammation and swelling in his knee.  We will continue to keep a close eye on it.  And we can always clean out the knee if it gets bad again.

Did the Yankees handle him appropriately?

They did a great job.  Chief Trainer Gene Monahan is very knowledgeable and has a lot of experience.

Were you happy about Matsui's accomplishments at the World Series?

Of course, he's a great person and he's very polite.  He's the type of player you want to root for.

Sponich is also carrying this interview with Matsui:

Your reason for filing for free agency so soon?

I've been talking to my agent and it seems like this is going to take some time...  And since it's going to take a long time, we both agreed that I should file as soon as possible.  There's really no deep meaning to it though.

Tellem has been saying negotiations won't really begin for another few weeks.

That's not necessarily true.  It's more about taking time.  I'm in no rush here.

What are your thoughts on your next contract?

I haven't really thought about the specifics.  I also haven't met with my agent yet.  So I haven't told him exactly what I'm looking for.  And I can't really tell him until I know for sure what I want.

The Yankees appear to be looking at you as only a DH.

I can't really do anything about what the Yankees think.  For me, I just need to keep pushing that I can play the outfield.

Did you know what the club was going to do?

I was a DH for the entire season and  I think they know me pretty well by now, so I can understand [what they're doing].

As part of your contract, is your living environment important?

I'm not really too worried about the living environment.  I just want to go to a team that needs me.  Period.

On cleaning out your locker...

There's a chance I may not return.  And if I do, all I need to do is put everything back.

...Matsui was also presented with an award by the Japanese General Consulate for his accomplishment during the World Series that helped provide "dreams for citizens of both the US and Japan."