Via Ed Price, Brian Cashman said that the perpetually under-appreciated Hideki Matsui will begin a minor league rehab assignment this Thursday in Tampa. If the Yanks can get 4 or 5 healthy weeks out of Matsui a the end of the year, man, that would be some kind of boost to the offense.
No, this will not shore up the bullpen, nor will it give us an extra starter. It could, however, mean drastically reduced playing time for Melky Cabrera. The AP reports that Hideki Matsui has intensified his running program, and will soon running the bases. His return might not be that far off. The only question is if his knee will hold up, allowing him to contribute to this still-frustrating offense.
At the tail end of an article about Pudge’s injury and Melky’s benching, Kat O’Brien lets us know that Hideki Matsui will begin a running program today. He hadn’t gotten to this point in any of his previous rehab attempts. The lineup could certainly use him.
While Monday’s news of the day was Jorge Posada and his injured shoulder, the other injured Yankee cog made a decision about his immediate future. According to the four-letter, Hideki Matsui will not undergo surgery yet and will attempt another rehab on his knee. More important, however, is this news that doctors have recommended that he go under the knife and that Brian Cashman is not optimistic that Matsui will rejoin the club any time soon. This will be the last rehab attempt before surgery, and I don’t expect to see Godzilla back in the Bronx this season.
Yesterday afternoon, as I noted then, Hideki Matsui called his setback “short-term.” Today, we find out that the news may be worse. Matsui’s knee has swelled up again, and the AP reports that he will likely need surgery. Within the same report comes speculation that the Yanks could turn to Barry Bonds to fill the Matsui void. However, Brian Cashman doesn’t seem to want to go down that path. No matter, Matsui’s injury is bad news for the Bombers.
We interrupt our
slam Jason Varitek All Star Game coverage to bring you some not-so-great news on a few injured Yankees. Via the AP:
Matsui did not hit Tuesday after experiencing additional discomfort in his sore left knee. The Yankees had hoped he might be ready to return when eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Friday.
“Perhaps you can say so, it’s a short-term setback,” Matsui said through a translator at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “I’m going to hit tomorrow, that’s the plan anyway.”
Damon, eligible to be activated from the DL on Sunday, continues to have soreness in his injured left shoulder, and won’t likely start hitting off a tee until at least late this week. He underwent treatment only on Tuesday.
“It feels a little better today,” Damon said. “It still feels horrible waking up. I’m still kind of down because I know (Yankees manager Joe) Girardi wants to put me in the lineup on Sunday and I’m not sure we can do that.”
Damon’s news is being reported as a “setback,” but I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. His injury hasn’t gotten worse; it just isn’t getting better as quickly as he and the Yanks had hoped it would. Matsui’s knee and his progress, however, should probably be regarded as a setback, and at this point, I’m skeptical that we’ll see Matsui back in the Bronx before 2009.
With this news, the Yankees are obviously going to have to face a tough decision. While I’m not sold on his long-term prospects, it does make sense to give Richie Sexson a look at DH/1B in a platoon situation. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck with Wilson Betemit in the lineup nearly everyday. Meanwhile, the Yanks will continue to mix and match with Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera and Justin Christian until Damon recovers. Tough times for the outfield.
Ed Price checked in with Hideki Matsui yesterday, and it’s tough to get a good read on the situation. Matsui, inactive for a few weeks due to inflammation in his knee, swung off a tee earlier this week and said he felt good. But the Yanks are guarded about Matsui’s condition. Team officials believe he will not be able to do anything other than DH this year, and if he doesn’t respond well to rehab, season-ending surgery will be a reality. I wonder if there are any other OF/DH types out there who could fill in for him…