Hideki Matsui had his first workout before the media Sunday after being introduced as a New York Yankee last Tuesday following the signing of a three-year, $21 million free-agent deal.
Matsui ran for more than an hour at the Yomiuri Giants facility in Kawasaki and practiced swinging the bat for the first time before reporters this year.
“My press conference to join the team is over, so now all I have to focus on is getting my body in shape for spring training,” said Matsui, who took some hard swings as he let loose on about 120 balls.
“I don’t have as much time to practice as usual, so I feel like I’m behind schedule,” he added.
Matsui got to swing the bat at Yankee Stadium when he was staying in New York last week and practiced at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium the following day after his return to Japan on Thursday.
“If I get hurt it won’t help anything, so I want to practice but not overdo it,” he said.
The 28-year-old power hitter could fly to the United States again by the end of this month. He is scheduled to join the Yankees’ spring training in Florida in mid-February.
Saito re-signs with Yokohama BayStars
Free-agent pitcher Takashi Saito has weighed his options and chose to re-sign with the Yokohama BayStars over major league clubs for the upcoming season, baseball sources said Monday.
Saito, who had negotiated with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers, made the decision as none of the teams made an offer comparable to the three-year, 750 million yen deal proposed by the Central League club.
The 32-year-old right-hander is now in the United States for training and will make the formal announcement upon his return on Wednesday.
Saito has 76 wins, 64 losses and 48 saves in his 11-year career with Yokohama and was the team’s closer for the past two seasons.
Buffaloes ink ex-Dodger Beirne
OSAKA — The Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes have officially signed former Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Kevin Beirne on a one-year contract, officials of the Pacific League club said Monday.
Beirne, a 29-year-old who had a 2-0 record and a 3.41 ERA in 12 games for the Dodgers in 2002, agreed to a combined $450,000 in signing bonus and annual salary.
He has a career record of 3-3 and a 6.09 ERA in 46 major league games.
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