Matsui will be a spectator in Game 3

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Joe Girardi confirmed that Johnny
Damon will start in left field for Game 3. While he didn’t make it
official, this all but guarantees that Hideki Matsui
will be sitting on the bench to start Saturday’s game in Philadelphia.

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While Nick Swisher and Damon have
batted a combined .176 with two home r
uns and six RBI during the
postseason, Matsui has been one of the club’s most reliable
contributors, batting .278/.422/.472 out of the No. 5 hole, including a
go-ahead solo home run against Pedro Martinez in Game 2. However, his
surgically-repaired knees will have him relegated to the bench.

“We’ll use him in a role to pinch hit when we feel that he can be most
valuable to us,” Girardi said. “It might be a situation where you might
think about a double switch, but you don’t want to lose his bat.”

Matsui hasn’t played a single game in the field all season, and when asked if he would be capable of doing so, his answer wasn’t very encouraging.

“I can’t tell you what my confidence level would be,” he said
through interpreter Roger Kahlon. “My knees are pretty calmed down
right now, in that sense I feel pretty good.”


“I haven’t been in the outfield in more than a year. I have to see how I feel once I get out there.”

Girardi is surely hoping that the Yanks can chase Cole Hamels early and he won’t even have to worry about using Godzilla.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.