New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui returned to Japan on Tuesday and said he feels disappointed with his performance this year despite posting career-best numbers in some key batting categories.
“I tried my best but I don’t think I lived up to expectations. I want to play until the very end (to win the World Series) but it didn’t materialize again this year,” Matsui told reporters in Tokyo.
Matsui finished his third season with the Yankees with major-league career highs of a .305 average, 192 hits and 116 RBIs. He hit 23 homers, compared to a career-best 31 homers last year.
“These numbers are not particularly good or bad to me. I think many fans in Japan had expected me to hit more home runs and I may have disappointed those people,” Matsui said.
The Yankees ended their 2005 campaign in the first stage of the postseason playoffs, losing to the Los Angeles Angels in the American League Division Series in October.
Earlier this month, Matsui became the highest-paid Japanese player in the majors when he agreed with the Yankees on a new four-year contract worth an estimated $52 million.
Matsui was reluctant to make any substantial comment on his relationship with actress Naho Toda in the midst of a flood of media coverage, including reports about marriage.
In a comment issued on Friday, Matsui acknowledged his personal relations with Toda but suggested there is no possibility that they will get married during this offseason.
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