Hideki Matsui donates $600,000 to Japanese relief efforts

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Last week Ichiro Suzuki donated $1.2 million to the Japanese relief efforts and now Hideki Matsui has joined him, donating around $600,000 to the Red Cross.

Matsui’s official donation is 50 million yen (Ichiro’s was 100 million yen), which works out to about $620,000 based on the current conversion rate and represents around 15 percent of his 2011 salary.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Matsui previously also donated 50 million yen following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and 10 million yen after a smaller 2007 earthquake in Japan.

Brandon Morrow injured his back taking off his pants

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The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.

We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”

Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.