While the core of the Yankee lineup has recently been hitting the tar out of the baseball, Hideki Matsui has not. In 57 June plate appearances, Matsui is batting .260/.351/.340 with just two extra-base hits. He’s hit just one home run since May 18.
Matsui has always been something of a streaky hitter, but something larger seems to be up. Hideki is not in the Yankee lineup tonight, and his left knee is under examination. Matsui, according to PeteAbe, will get his knee drained and may be heading for the MRI tube. He’s definitely not available for tonight’s contest, and I’m sure he’ll be sitting during tomorrow afternoon’s game as well. The good news, at least, is that this is not the same knee Matsui got surgically repaired last year.
The Yankees can ill afford another injury right now, and they will take every precaution possible with Matsui and his balky knees. The hot-hitting Jason Giambi gets the start at DH, and the swing-at-everything Wilson Betemit will attempt to man the first-base bag.
On the hill tonight is Darrell Rasner. Once the Cinderella story of the season, Rasner has struggled — or is that regressed? — a bit over this last four outings. He is 0-4 with a 5.09 ERA over that span, and he’s allowed 31 hits in 23 innings. He’s keeping the walks down and the strike outs up, but opponents are hitting .326/.356/.495 off of him. We need the good Darrell Rasner to re-emerge, and the weak-hitting Padres may be just the key. San Diego countering with Jake Peavy, one of the few legitimate stars on the team.
Game Notes: The Yankees have re-signed Sidney Ponson. Sir Sidney finds himself in Scranton for now but could start one of the games of next Friday’s Subway Series double header.