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This is one hit Hideki Matsui and Angels owner Arte Moreno are glad to avoid

March 15, 2010 |  6:04 pm

Angels owner Arte Moreno may have prevented an international incident Monday afternoon when he stepped on his brakes in time to avoid backing his car into Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui, the team's new designated hitter.

Matsui, who went hitless in three at-bats in the Angels' 4-0 exhibition loss to the Dodgers, had finished his daily press briefing with the large Japanese media contingent outside the back entrance of Tempe Diablo Stadium when he began walking toward his car in the parking lot.

Just as Matsui walked past the back of Moreno's car, a media member called out to Matsui, who stopped about two feet from Moreno's back bumper and turned around.

Moreno backed up his vehicle about a foot before seeing Matsui in his rear-view mirror, and though Moreno was able to stop his car a foot or so from the player, Matsui jumped back to avoid a collision.

As Matsui laughed, the Japanese photographers clicked away, giving the media a story it will no doubt play up on television and in newspapers in Japan.

Said Moreno: "I thought he had gone by." 

-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.