ATLANTA – New York Mets shortstop Kazuo Matsui will bat leadoff in the season opener against the Atlanta Braves, Mets manager Art Howe said Monday in announcing the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game.
The switch-hitting Matsui, who signed a three-year, $20.1 million deal with the Mets last December, said the day before making his debut as the fifth Japanese position player in four years to play for a major league team that he has no idea what to expect.
“I’ll probably be pretty tense tomorrow. I can’t imagine what it will be like playing (in a regular-season game in the majors) but I know it will be a special day for me. I’m thrilled to start my new career this way,” said Matsui.
“I just hope I’ll be able to stay healthy through the 162-game season. I haven’t set any goals for myself statwise because I’m just going to go out there and do what’s best for the team. I’m competing against opponents and not with numbers,” he said.
Two-time Cy Young winner Tom Glavine will start for the Mets and Russ Ortiz for the Braves in the evening game at Turner Field. Ortiz led the National League with 21 wins last season.
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