Lack of lefties makes Matsui’s loss easier to stomach


One concern for the Yankees offense heading into the season was the condition of Hideki Matsui‘s knees. He had an operation his right knee following the 2007 season, and then missed significant time in 2008 with left knee problems, which led to another surgery in September. This relegated Matsui to DH-only status, as the Yanks fear that playing him in the field could further aggravate his fragile joints. After Matsui had his left knee drained in April, it appears those fears were well-founded.

The latest news is that Matsui has again had his knee drained and will miss the series opener in Oakland. For Hideki to miss any time at this point is a bummer. He’s been on fire since the All-Star Break, hitting .267/.344/.488 with four doubles and five homers in 96 plate appearances (counting Saturday’s 0 for 4, when his knee was clearly bothering him). But considering the timing, it might not be that big an issue.

What’s worked most in Matsui’s favor this year is his ability to hit lefties well. He’s posted a .258/.336/.619 line against them in 110 plate appearances, and has his 10 of his 19 home runs against pitchers of the same handedness. His BABIP is a mere .211, which explains away the low average, but his power against lefties is undeniable. It would appear that there aren’t many lefty starters on the horizon for the Yanks.

Oakland will feature righties Brett Tomko and Vin Mazzaro Monday and Tuesday, so the wise move would be to hold Hideki out of both of these contests, opting to use Eric Hinske in the DH spot instead. While his splits also favor lefties this year, it’s in a small 40 PA sample against them. Over his career Hinske has hit righties far better than lefties, a .804 OPS vs. a .673 mark. Might as well let him face the righties in Oakland’s rotation.

Then on Wednesday, if he’s able, Matsui can enter the lineup against Brett Anderson and the A’s. The day off will help, as the Yanks travel to Boston on Thursday. They will then have a three-game series, in which none of the Sox starters will be lefties — Jon Lester will start Thursday against Toronto. This gives the Yanks flexibility to give Matsui another two straight days off. Or perhaps they’ll opt to give Matsui the entire A’s series off, in hopes that five idle days will clear up all issues with the knee.

In any case, the Yanks have the flexibility to deal with Matsui’s current malady. They can give him as much time off as he needs, because they have a bench deep enough to mask his absence. That they’re playing the last-place A’s helps even further. Losing Matsui’s bat would be a detriment to this offense. Thankfully, it appears that they’ll be able to get him back in the lineup in due time.

Categories : Injuries
  • Makavelli

    Get better Chop!

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)


      I’ve heard “Godzilla” and “the Sayonara Kid”, but never “Chop”.

      Where do you get Chop from?

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)


      I’ve heard Godzilla and the Sayonara Kid, but never Chop.

      Where did you hear that?

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Never heard Chop before.

      • pat

        Chop Suey?

        • Danny


        • The Artist

          I’ll guess he didn’t mean Chop-Mat.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Matsui is a lot like this thread…Underappreciated.

    • Drew

      Under appreciated? Nah. Over hyped, yeah. I still get mad when I see him running around in CF in old highlights of US vs Japanese teams. His bat has been great, his legs have been debilitating to our flexibility. Ever since he broke his wrist it’s been a downhill slide that none of us,IMO, saw coming.

      • Drew

        That said, as long as he can continue to produce as he has this year, I’m happy slotting him in as our DH come late September and October. :)

    • JobaWockeeZ

      I actually agree with Andy. So many DFA THIS BUM posts this year. It’s annoying.

  • Joe

    sit him til friday. we need him as healthy as possible for the playoffs

  • Pablo Zevallos

    wasn’t this posted before?

    • Mike Axisa

      Yeah but it got buried by the draft stuff, so we bumped it up top.

      • Bob Stone

        Thanks – I thought I was losing my mind or suffering the first stages of senility. I was sure I had read this story before.

  • Accent Shallow

    While Matsui has hit lefties well this year, should we really expect him to continue crushing them, considering he exhibits a relatively normal (although flat) platoon split?

    I’m saying no.

    Regardless, a healthy Matsui is necessary for the offense, so he had better be ok.

  • Matt ACTY/BBD

    I can has Adam Dunn (if Hideki is out for the year)?

    • Drew

      You’re dreaming, both you and I… That would be amazing. I don’t think he’ll be out for the season though. Also, flying across the country cannot be good for his recently drained knees.

      • Matt ACTY/BBD

        Adam Dunn in YS III would just be…homer-gasmic.

    • Tom Zig

      Big Donkey in YSIII = 50+ HRs

      Cashman please go get him in the offseason…we need a DH.

      • Matt ACTY/BBD

        I have a feeling they’re gonna just use the DH spot next year for Jorge/Alex/Johnny/Tex occasionally, etc.

      • pat

        Jesus for 2010 DH/3rd Catcher.

  • pat


    • Camilo Gerardo

      Fuck Yeah, feagles still got it

      • pat

        Exactly what I said. Coffin Cornered like a mofo.

    • Matt ACTY/BBD

      Jon Gruden said that Jake D. “leads the lead in grit.” I was unaware the Red Sox were playing tonight.

      • Matt ACTY/BBD

        And now he said that Coughlin is a “grinder” and “leads the league in effort.” Wow.

        • pat


        • Drew

          You don’t hear “effort” a lot, as it pertains to baseball. This guy, gives a lot of effort.

          7 Days later:
          This guy gives so much effort. He’s just a baseball player.


  • pat

    Oo Kenny Phillips you’re gonna be GOOD.

    • Matt ACTY/BBD

      Oo Kenny Phillips you’re gonna be GOOD GREAT.

      Fixed, pat. Fixed.

      • Drew


      • pat

        Bahah, there was supposed to be an extra O to accentuate it. Great works too though.

  • pat

    Bradshaw is a fiery beast.