Hideki Matsui spreads a little goodwill with Staten Island Yankees
Watching former Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui throw batting practice to Staten Island Yankees players at Richmond County Ballpark on Saturday bought back a few memories, but no one should get any wild ideas.
Matsui, who threw 120 pitches during a BP session for the Yankees' New York-Penn League Class A affiliate on Staten Island, enjoyed helping the players, but he has no commitment with the Yankees and has no plans to manage.
"No, not really," Matsui replied through interpreter Roger Kahlon when asked if he wants to run a major-league team. "This opportunity just came about and just kind of happened. That's really it. There's nothing more beyond this."
But Matsui, who spent his final year with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, did leave the door open for a return to coaching at some point.
"We just introduced ourselves. That's about it," Matsui said of his interaction with the players. "But hopefully, I'll do well enough so they'll want me to come back."
In seven years with the Yankees, Matsui, a two-time All-Star, had a .292 batting average, 140 home runs, 597 RBIs and a .370 on-base percentage. In his final three seasons with the Angels, Athletics and Rays, Matsui totaled 35 homers and 163 RBIs.
Matsui's final season in the Bronx ended on a high note. He hit .615 with three home runs and eight RBIs in the 2009 World Series and helped the Yankees beat the Phillies in six games.
Matsui, 39, nicknamed "Godzilla" from his days in the Japanese League, said he doesn't miss the action.
"Maybe, perhaps if I was 100-percent healthy," he said. "I don't really have that kind of feeling anymore."
If there was any nervous tension, he didn't show it.
"I'm not a player anymore," he said. "I just relaxed out there. It's just a different feeling from being a player."
Instead, Matsui is more focused on helping the Yankees' farmhands.
"I just hope that I can contribute in some way and help them get better," he said. "Hopefully, they can advance and progress to where they need to go."
Matsui hasn't closely followed the 2013 Yankees but still has high hopes for his former team.
"I haven't really been paying attention that much to the team," he said. "But hopefully guys like Jeter and A-Rod, when they come back, will have an impact on the team."