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6/28/2012: Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, Norichika Aoki

by on Jun.28, 2012 @ 4:18 pm, under MLB

Games from June 27:

Oakland A's 2 - Seattle Mariners 1 [Nikkan Sports, Daily Sports]
Ichiro Suzuki (SEA) started in right and batted first.  He went 1-for-5: fly out to right, strikeout swinging, single to left, strikeout swinging, strikeout (foul tip).  Ichiro also extended his hitting streak to eight games. [Sponichi, Nikkan Sports]

Munenori Kawasaki (SEA) entered the game as a pinch-runner for Justin Smoak in the bottom of the 9th.

Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) entered the game in the top of the 3rd with no one on and two out.  He retired Coco Crisp on a fly out to center and did not allow a run until he gave up a one-out solo homer to Yoenis Cespedes in the top of the 7th.  He was removed from the game after that.  Iwakuma took the loss and is 1-1 on the year.  Final line: 3.2 IP, 49-33 NP-S, 13 BF, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR. [Sponichi]

Kansas City 5 - Tampa Bay Rays 4
Hideki Matsui (TBR) entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Jose Molina in the top of the 8th -- with runners on first and second and two out -- and struck out swinging.  He did not remain in the game for the bottom of the 8th. [Sponichi, Nikkan Sports, Daily Sports]

Milwaukee Brewers 8 - Cincinnati Reds 4
Norichika Aoki (MIL) started in left and batted first.  He went 2-for-4: pop out to short in foul territory, single to left (run scored), walk (caught trying to steal third), strikeout swinging, single to center (run scored). [Sponichi, Nikkan Sports, Nikkan Sports, Daily Sports]

Rochester 4 - Lehigh Valley 3 (AAA)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka (ROC) started at second and batted second.  He went 2-for-5: double to center, ground out to second, strikeout swinging, fly out to center, RBI double to left.  Nishioka also committed a missed catch error (6) in the bottom of the 6th. [Nikkan Sports]

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Reuters on Hideki Matsui's (TBR) playing time:

OF/DH Hideki Matsui continues to struggle and is headed back to the bench with the expected reinstatement of DH Luke Scott from the disabled list as soon as Thursday. However, manager Joe Maddon remains confident that Matsui, who is hitting .132 (5-for-38) over his past 10 games and .164 overall, will improve. "I'm not worried about him," Maddon said. "He's going to hit his stride. He just all of a sudden is going to just turn it out, and he's going to get really hot."

From the Tampa Bay Tribune:

OF Hideki Matsui is likely to see his role reduced with the return of Scott.

Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said he expects Matsui's role to return to what the club envisioned when the Rays signed the 38-year-old Matsui. He's hitting .162 in 22 games with two homers.

"There's the opportunity to DH some, to play the outfield some, to pinch-hit some," Friedman said. "It's one of those things, from a depth standpoint, injuries happen."

Matsui pinch-hit in the eighth inning Wednesday but struck out with two men on.

And from Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin:

Rays officials continue to maintain they have confidence in struggling OF/DH Hideki Matsui and expect him to help them win games.

... "I was looking for contact," Maddon said. "I thought with a runner on third base and less than two outs, among all our candidates (which were just Rhymes, Matsui and Jose Lobaton), Will had the best chance to make contact. His strikeout rate is among the lowest in baseball. We're just looking to have the ball moved right there, and he did."

Matsui was then used with two outs and two on and struck out.

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Yu Darvish's (TEX) next start will come on July 1 against the Oakland A's.  Source: Nikkan Sports 6/28/2012