Avert your eyes, people. It sounds like Hideki Matsui may play in the outfield next week.
And as new A’s skipper Bob Melvin told Jane Lee and Tom Green of MLB.com, the main objective here isn’t just to make everyone feel really uncomfortable, but to keep Matsui in the lineup during interleague play.
“I want to keep him current and I want to keep him getting current at-bats and consistent at-bats because he’s done very well to this point,” Melvin said. “There’s a good chance you could see him get a start in the outfield, maybe once a series, then the other games doing the pinch-hitting thing. I’ve talked to him about it and he’s comfortable with it.”
The only catch is that if Matsui does make a start or two against the Mets and Phillies next week, it will be in right field, not his customary left field. Matsui has only played seven games in right field during his major league career and hasn’t made an appearance there since 2008 as a member of the Yankees.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.