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Category: Hideki Matsui

Japanese baseball players in U.S. try to contact friends, family after deadly earthquake

Ripples from the earthquake that devastated parts of Japan were being felt as far away as Arizona and Florida on Friday as Japanese players tried, sometimes in vain, to reach friends and family members.

The quake, the largest recorded temblor to strike Japan and the fifth-largest in history, caused power failures and fires, shuttered airports and paralyzed transit systems, killing hundreds and setting off a massive tsunami.

Former Dodgers pitcher Takashi Saito took an indefinite leave from the Milwaukee Brewers' facility in Phoenix after being unable to contact his parents. Saito was born and attended college in the northern city of Sendai, home to 1 million people. The city, on Japan's northeast coast, was the closest population center to the epicenter of the 8.9-magnitude quake. And though Saito has been in contact with his wife, Yukiko, and three daughters, he has been unable to reach his parents, team officials said.

Kei Igawa, in minor league camp with the Yankees in Tampa, Fla., also left the team after failing to get information about his family.

Igawa's family lives in Ibaraki, which was also hit hard.

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki and Boston Red Sox pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima also spent much of Friday trying unsuccessful to get through to their relatives although they said they believed their families were safe. Matsuzaka said he made contact with friends in Japan through e-mail but not by phone.

"Cellphones and power are down. There are 4 million people without power in Tokyo," Suzuki told reporters at the Mariners' camp outside Phoenix. "I have not gotten ahold of my family yet."

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Liz Claman throws out first pitch at Angels game, almost tears every muscle in Hideki Matsui's body

Fox Business anchor Liz Claman threw out the first pitch at Monday's Angels game, and almost killed Hideki Matsui in the process. Angels fans had to be hoping Matsui didn't hurt himself while leaping out of a crouch to catch the pitch, which missed the mark a little.



Claman is a big fan of Matsui, which is why he was her catcher.

-- Houston Mitchell

Will Matsuiland take off like Mannywood?

The Dodgers have Mannywood.

A group of Angels fans is countering with Matsuiland.

The fans sat in the right field stands during the Angels' Freeway League series opener against the Dodgers on Friday, each holding up homemade signs with one of the 10 letters forming the tribute to Angels designated hitter/outfielder Hideki Matsui. They plan to hold up the signs again Monday night in Section 327, Row M, when the Angels open the regular season against the Minnesota Twins.

Matsuiland is Angel fans' version of the Dodgers' section of left field known as Mannywood, named in honor of left fielder Manny Ramirez's Hollywood appeal. The Angels fans have started their own website in honor of Matsui (though it mostly appears to hawk Matsui memorabilia) and hope the Angels come on board with their marketing idea, which they say combines the magic of Matsui and Disneyland.

"Hideki has always impressed us with his humble approach," fan Claude Bilodeau said. "When he played in New York, he was always overshadowed by that big-name roster, and we want him to get his recognition."

Here's one suggestion for Matsuiland: Move it above the Angels' dugout, since that's where Matsui figures to spend most of his time as the team's primary designated hitter.

-- Ben Bolch

Hideki Matsui homers, but foul ball breaks Angels owner Arte Moreno's windshield

Hideki Matsui's next paycheck might be a little smaller than usual. That's because the Angels' new free-agent slugger hit a foul ball that broke the windshield of owner Arte Moreno's new Mercedes-Benz.

"You can't hit the owner's car," said teammate Torii Hunter. "That's pretty impressive. I've never seen anybody hit the owner's anything.

"You kidding me? Oh, man. That's coming out of his check. He's paying for that."

Actually, Moreno might not be too angry since one of the balls Matsui hit fair went over the right-center field wall for his first home run as an Angel. Hunter also homered twice -- his first homers of the spring -- and he's hitting .727 in his last four games.

"I might go to the casino tonight," said Hunter, referring to his hot streak.

-- Kevin Baxter

Angels spring training update: Hideki Matsui to make exhibition debut today

Hideki Matsui
, the former New York Yankees star who signed a one-year, $6-million deal with the Angels this winter, will bat cleanup and get two at-bats as a designated hitter in Tuesday's exhibition game against the San Diego Padres.

Center fielder Torii Hunter, who aggravated a right groin injury on Friday, remained out of the lineup, and Manager Mike Scioscia said he will not play until Friday at the earliest.

"He could play, but we don't need to push it," Scioscia said. "Right now, we'll give him a couple of extra days, he'll get in some hard workouts, and we'll go from there."

The Angels lineup for today's game:

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