Hideki Matsui remains in lineup despite 4-for-33 slump
When a player is slumping as badly as Hideki Matsui, who entered Wednesday night with four hits in 33 at-bats and two runs batted in over the past nine games, Manager Mike Scioscia will usually give him a day off "to catch his breath."
Not only was Matsui, whose average fell from .310 on April 24 to .250 entering Wednesday night, in the lineup for the game against the Boston Red Sox, but the 35-year-old designated hitter with the creaky knees started in left field in Fenway Park, the second time in three days and the fourth time this season he has played in the outfield.
"I don't feel too bad," Matsui, speaking through an interpreter, said before the game. "Obviously, the results aren't there. My mechanics might be a little off, but I feel good physically."
Matsui once played 1,250 consecutive games in Japan, so he's used to battling through slumps. Of course, most of those games were played on artificial turf, "which is why my knees are the way they are," Matsui joked. "My mindset is that I'll always be ready to play every game."
It would seem Matsui's desire to play every day and Scioscia's desire to give struggling players occasional days off might conflict, but Matsui and the manager have not butted heads over the issue.
"We haven't had that discussion yet," Matsui said. "My approach is to be ready every game. If he tells me to play, I will play. If he tells me to take the day off, I will take the day off. I have no issue with that. I'm not going to force the issue or inconvenience the team by playing every day."
--Mike DiGiovanna in Boston
Photo: Hideki Matsui. Credit: C.J. Gunther, EPA.