Hideki Matsui to make Angels debut Sunday ... weather permitting
TEMPE, Ariz. -- There is a genuine buzz among the large contingent of Japanese media on hand to cover new Angels designated hitter Hideki Matsui this spring. The Japanese slugger is in Sunday's lineup for the first time this spring, in the cleanup spot for the team's exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics.
Several Japanese photographers and cameramen took still shots and video of the lineup card posted at the back entrance to the team's clubhouse and, as usual, Matsui was followed by a trail of cameras as he walked from his car to the clubhouse.
Matsui has been slowed in recent years by a pair of arthritic knees that relegated him to DH for all 142 of the games he played for the New York Yankees last season, and the Angels have been easing the slugger into drills this spring.
But the Japanese media seemed to be getting restless Saturday. One reporter asked Manager Mike Scioscia whether, because Matsui had missed the first three exhibition games, the player would be able to get enough at-bats to be ready for the season.
Scioscia said there is plenty of time for Matsui to get enough at-bats, but the 35-year-old veteran still might have to wait another day to get in some exhibition swings. The forecast calls for a 70% chance of rain Sunday, and it was already drizzling at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Sunday morning, so there is a chance the game will be rained out.
The Angels lineup for Sunday:
SS Erick Aybar
RF Bobby Abreu
3B Maicer Izturis
DH Hideki Matsui
LF Juan Rivera
2B Howie Kendrick
C Jeff Mathis
1B Robb Quinlan
CF Reggie Willits
P Joe Saunders
-- Mike DiGiovanna