Found April 24, 2012 on hardballchat.com:


The Tampa Bay Rays appear close to reaching a deal to sign free agent Hideki Matsui, according to multiple sources. The 37-year-old last played with the Oakland Athletics in 2011, batting .251 with 12 home runs and 78 RBIs. At this point in his career, Matsui is primarily a designated hitter, as his knees make his defense even less suspect. Matsui is expected to sign a minor league deal and be assigned to Triple-A Durham, but the Rays are still hoping that he has enough pop left in his bat to warrant a call-up to the big leagues. Tampa Bay has used Luke Scott as its’ main designated hitter this season, and he has performed admirably thus far, batting .275 with 3 home runs and 14 RBIs in 12 games. After a hot start to the 2012 MLB season, the Rays have cooled off a bit, so they are looking to infuse a bit of offense and veteran leadership into the club house. Matsui spent his first seven MLB seasons with the New York Yankees where he was a two-time All-Star and won the 2009 World Series MVP on the way to helping the Bronx Bombers bring home their 27th world championship. Prior to coming to the Yankees, Matsui was a star in Japan, posting an average of .304 with 332 home runs in nine seasons with the Yomiuiri Giants. Over a combined 16 professional seasons, Matsui has hit 505 career home runs, hitting 173 in MLB with the Yankees, Athletics and Los Angeles Angels.     Kelley writes for The Pigskin Report as well as Hardball Chat. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24 and Like The Rob Kelley Sports Network on Facebook. Kelley is a former sports reporter for various newspapers throughout the state of Florida, and had his first book published I'm Not a Quitter after moving back to Massachusetts.
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