The Hideki Matsui era in Tampa Bay began with a bang three months ago, a jammed press conference at Tropicana Field that included some 40 members of the Japanese media, followed by a pair of towering home runs in two of his first three games.
It ended Wednesday afternoon with a whimper, a short press release announcing that Matsuis days as a Ray were over.
The slumping Japanese slugger had gone from designated hitter to designated for assignment, making room for newly acquired veteran infielder Ryan Roberts on the 40-man roster.
That means the Rays have 10 days to trade Matsui, release him or place him on waivers the latest move for a team still looking for a way to kick-start its ailing offense while awaiting the return of injured star Evan Longoria.
The only questions now: Will the 38-year-old icon nicknamed Godzilla hang up his cleats for good after a remarkable career in his home country and the United States, and what happens to the large contingent of Japanese writers and...