Welcome to Yakyubaka.com

Shigetoshi Hasegawa: Hideki Matsui could hit 30-40 home runs

by on Dec.18, 2009 @ 11:16 am, under MLB

The media is beginning it's push about the big rivalry between the Mariners and Angels.  Of course, having Ichiro and Hideki Matsui on either team will help sell that concept big time in Japan.

Look out!  Shigetoshi Hasegawa thinks that Matsui could hit anywhere from 30-40 home runs in an Angels' uniform.  Incidentally, Angel Stadium had a PF of 1.220 for HR in 2009 vs the 1.261 PF that Yankee Stadium had (via ESPN).  The two parks led all stadiums in HR PF.

And some interview questions, via Sponichi:

The process you went through in order to decide on the Angels...

I played for the Yankees for a long time and really wanted to stay, but in the end, I just wanted to find a team that would let me play.  The Angels said they would and that made me want to come here.

The status on your knees and being able to play the outfield...

My knees are getting better every year.  We'll see how much I can play in the outfield during training camp and then decide how to move forward from there.  I'm sure I'll be penciled in at DH for the time being, but I'd like to slowly increase the number of games I play in the outfield.  As long as my knees are feeling good, I should be able to play [the outfield].

Your impressions of Los Angeles, CA...

The first place I visits outside of Japan when I was in high school was Los Angeles.  I played on a team of high schoolers and I have a lot of memories from then.  I have that connection [to Los Angeles].

It's a 1-year deal, any worries about the future?

I'm not worried about that at all.  I'm just focused on playing my best.

What are you memories of the Yankees...  Your old teammates, the club, the fans...

I played with them for a long time, so all I have are feelings of gratitude.  I haven't been able to speak to them directly, but my feelings haven't changed.

Your impressions of Mike Scioscia...

Pitching, hitting, running...   He wants to play a fundamentally sound game of baseball and he puts that into practice.  I felt this was a very tough team when I played against them.  He smiles a lot and likes to joke around.  Sometimes I don't know if he's joking or not, so I'd like to learn how to read him better.

Are you feeling relieved?

I feel I can now look toward next year.  More than feeling relieved, I'm just really looking forward to next year now.

=== UPDATE 12:57pm JST

...It seem Mike Scioscia played a fairly big role in getting Matsui to sign with the Angels.

During a meeting at Arn Tellem's house on the 13th, Scioscia said that he would give Matsui a chance to play every day and that he also wanted Matsui to try playing the outfield a little as well.  It was on the following day that Matsui knew he wanted to sign with the Angels.

...The Angels' team color of red apparently invoked images of Antonio Inoki, a professional Japanese wrestler known for using the color red, in Matsui.  And when Inoki heard about that, he wished Matsui luck and said he'd like to personally hand him one of his special fighting spirit red towels.

...And Nikkan Sports mentions the most recent Huffington Post article by Arn Tellem that mentions how Matsui wanted to end his career with the New York Yankees.