The Yankees have communicated with the representative for old friend Hideki Matsui regarding their opening at designated hitter, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed. CBSSports.com first reported the dialogue.
With the Yankees in need of a contributor at DH after trading Jesus Montero to Seattle, Matsui ranks as a low priority in their search. Former Yankee Johnny Damon and Carlos Pena -- who spent time in the Yankees' minor- league system in 2006 -- also are candidates.
Matsui, 37, left the Yankees for the Angels after the 2009 season, which he concluded by being named World Series MVP after driving in six runs in the Game 6 clincher and going 8-for-13 with three homers and eight RBIs. He spent 2011 with Oakland, during which he tallied an underwhelming .321 on-base percentage and .375 slugging percentage in 583 plate appearances, with 12 home runs and 72 RBIs. He batted a career-low .251 in his ninth season.
The Yankees aren't looking to spend a great deal on this opening, and Matsui probably would sign for a very small base salary. But the Yankees probably will exhaust other options before engaging him in serious discussions.
The Yankees announced that they signed Phil Hughes to a non-guaranteed one-year contract, thereby avoiding arbitration. CAA, Hughes' representation, announced on Twitter that the contract was for $3.2 million, a $500,000 raise from his 2011 salary. He went 5-5 with a 5.79 ERA, pitching only 742/3 innings.
The Yankees have five arbitration-eligible players remaining: Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner, Boone Logan, Russell Martin and David Robertson. The players and teams will exchange figures Tuesday, setting the parameters for February hearings in which an independent party will choose between the two salaries. Most of the time, however, the player and team will reach agreement before going to a hearing.