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Free-agent Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui said Tuesday he has decided to use an agent to hold talks with major-league clubs.

News photoFree-agent slugger Hideki Matsui smiles at an award presentation ceremony at a Tokyo hotel.

Matsui, who earlier said he would go it alone through negotiations with the help of a lawyer, said that he now realizes the necessity of an agent.

“There are limits to what I can do by myself. I’d like to ask the help of someone with whom I can build a good relationship upon mutual trust,” Matsui said, adding he will discuss choosing an agent with his family lawyer.

Matsui revealed that three MLB teams have already expressed interest in acquiring the three-time Central League MVP, although he did not name any of the clubs.

Matsui will reportedly meet New York Yankees officials some time this week in Japan to discuss a possible offer after sending e-mails to all 30 major-league clubs expressing his desire to ply his trade in the majors next season.

Besides the Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles have also shown interest in Matsui.

“We are pretty interested in him,” Syd Thrift, the Orioles’ vice president of baseball operations, told The (Baltimore) Sun. “We just want to know what his interest is in us.”

While Yankees president Randy Levine returned to New York on Monday, general manager Brian Cashman and assistant GM Jean Afterman stayed in Tokyo along with Stephen Swindal, the son-in-law of owner George Steinbrenner.

Afterman, who speaks Japanese, will try to meet with Matsui later this week, according to a lawyer familiar with the situation.

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