Sanspo and Nikkan Sports have posted parts of the Q&A from Hideki Matsui's press conference on May 1.
Your reasons for picking the Tampa Bay Rays.
I am grateful to the Rays for giving me an opportunity. They have a good team and they have been to the playoffs. In terms of why I signed now, this was the first real offer I received, that was how it started.
How did you approach things once the seasons started, both in terms of your emotions and in terms of training?
Nothing really in terms of my emotions. It was just working out while waiting. In terms of my workouts, I was not able to play in any games, but I did everything else I was able to.
What are your thoughts on the minor league deal? Did the Rays mention anything?
I feel a minor league deal is indicative of what my current situation is. The Rays have said that they wanted me to help them win once I make it back to the Majors.
When do you think you will be able to play? Will you stay with the Rays if you are not still in the Majors in June, July, or August?
In terms of playing, I feel great and I am prepared. I think I will be able to get into playing shape relatively quickly. As for the other question, I have not really thought that far into the future.
You have won a championship and have won an MVP. What else do you want to accomplish?
I just want to play. I want to play baseball. That is all. There is nothing in particular that I want to accomplish.
What do you think was the reason why it took so long for you to get a contract? And what are your goals for the season?
I do not know the specifics, but I imagine it has something to do with how my stats from last year were not very good. There is also age. I have not thought too much about specific goals yet. I first need to focus on making it back to the Majors and helping the team win. That is it.
Any special thoughts about this being your tenth year in the Majors?
Would you like to wear the number fifty-five with the Rays? Do you have any memories about Tropicana Field?
With regards to uniform numbers, I do not really care either way. I was with the Yankees for a long time so I have played a lot of games [there]. I remember it being a very nice park to play in.
Any thoughts about returning to the AL East?
Honestly, I have no special feelings about returning to the AL East. It is all the same to me.
Do you have confidence you can still play?
This is not just on me, but if I did not have confidence I do not think I would play. That is all.
Many people called you a slow starter in the past, but you do not have the luxury of time this year. Thoughts?
Others may have seen me that way, but I have never thought of myself as a slow starter. I always try my best regardless of the situation. That is all.
And Nikkan Sports (sections that were slightly different from the version Sanspo posted):
You got to the World Series with the Yankees and even won an MVP. What is there left for you to do? Is there something you want to prove?
I just want to play. I want to play baseball. That is really it. There is nothing specifically that I want to prove.
Why do you think it took so long to get a contract? And what are you goals for the season?
I do not know the specifics. I imagine it has to do with how my stats last year were not very good. I also think [it might have to do with the perception of] age and decline. [My goal] is to make it to the Majors and help the team. That is all.
What are your thoughts about returning to the AL East? And what do think about the players that have spoken about how good a player you are?
I have no special feelings about playing in the AL East again. All the leagues/divisions are the same [to me]. I do not really know how others perceive me, but all I have ever done was do my best to help the team. And I plan to continue doing that.