TEMPE, Ariz. – Designated hitter Hideki Matsui hit a single in a 1-for-2 spring debut for the Los Angeles Angels in a 6-5 win against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.
Playing in his first game since helping the New York Yankees win the World Series last season, Matsui stroked Radhames Liz’ 3-1 pitch up the middle in the fourth inning after striking out in his only other at-bat in the first against Chris Young.
Matsui later gave way to pinch runner Cory Aldridge.
“I haven’t played basically since the World Series,” said Matsui, who agreed to a $6 million, one-year deal with the Angels in December after spending seven seasons with the Yankees.
“In that sense, there’s a little discomfort, not feeling used to being at the plate,” he added. “At the start my timing was off but my first at-bat and second at-bat felt quite different. I felt more used to it in my second trip to the plate.
The 35-year-old former Yomiuri Giants slugger was used as a designated hitter last season and did not play defense because of bad knees.
Matsui said, however, that he felt content with how his knees are holding up.
“I think everything is progressing well. I have to be cautious, mindful of the condition of my knees. Slowly and surely I’m progressing.”
In other action Tuesday involving Japanese major leaguers, Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda went two innings, allowing two runs — one earned — on two hits and took the loss in his first spring start in a 12-0 defeat to the Colorado Rockies.
Atlanta Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami surrendered a two-run homer to Jayson Werth in the second inning in the Braves’ 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies but was not involved in the decision. He gave up two runs on four hits and walked one in three innings.
Kazuo Matsui homered against his old team, doubled and walked twice as the Houston Astros beat the New York Mets 8-4, while Kosuke Fukudome went 0-for-2 in the Chicago Cubs’ 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.