Nicknamed "Godzilla" for his pop at the plate during a stellar career in Japan, Matsui, now 38, lost nothing in translation when the Yankees signed him in 2003.
After starring for a decade with the Yomiuri Giants, Matsui played seven seasons for the Yankees, hitting .292 with 140 homers and 597 RBIs.
In his final game as a Yankee, Matsui knocked in six runs in the sixth and deciding game of the 2009 World Series as the team won its first championship in nine years. He retired with a .282 average and 175 homers in the major leagues after rounding out his 10-year big-league career with the Angels, A's and Rays.
In a statement, Yankees captain Derek Jeter praised Matsui for his clubhouse presence and performance under pressure.
"I've had a lot of teammates over the years with the Yankees," Jeter said. "But I will always consider Hideki one of my favorites."
Mets sign pitcher
The Mets signed lefthanded pitcher Aaron Laffey to a minor-league contract. The 27-year-old was invited to spring training. Laffey finished 4-6 last season with a 4.56 ERA in 22 appearances (16 starts) with the Blue Jays.