HITACHINAKA, IBARAKI PREF. – Free agent Hideki Matsui said Wednesday he hopes to have a contract in hand with another major league club before the start of spring training, and he is upbeat about his prospects.
His former club, the New York Yankees, have expressed interest in a possible reunion with the 37-year-old Kanazawa native.
“Hopefully, it will be decided by the start of spring training (later this month),” said Matsui, who hit 12 homers with 72 RBIs in 141 games for the Oakland Athletics in 2011. “I am preparing myself, so I can hit a lot of home runs.”
According to an online ESPN report on Monday, New York is looking to add one of the three most prominent remaining free agents — Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon or Matsui — within a week.
“I am waiting (to hear from my agent). I don’t really know what will happen, but I want to perform well on the field,” said Matsui.
Asked about the possibility of returning to play baseball in Japan, Matsui said, “I haven’t heard anything concrete on that. That’s probably out of the question.”
Tigers happy with Prince
Dave Dombrowski is showing no sign of buyer’s remorse.
The Tigers’ general manager spoke Tuesday as part of a Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association luncheon, expressing confidence new first baseman Prince Fielder can stay productive through most if not all of his expensive nine-year contract.
Dombrowski acknowledges the risk but points out that the hefty slugger is only 27.
“The prime of your career is what, through 32, 33?” Dombrowski said. “That’s seven of the nine years already, and my gut reaction is that this guy will continue to swing the bat. How his body will look in nine years or seven years, I really don’t know. He is a heavy-set guy but he’s also become more aware of trying to keep himself in the best shape he possibly can.”