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Yankees hire Hideki Matsui as special adviser to GM Brian Cashman

Hideki Matsui smiles during a news conference to

Hideki Matsui smiles during a news conference to announce his retirement. (Dec. 27, 2012) Credit: AP

SARASOTA, Fla. - Hideki Matsui has served as a guest instructor for the Yankees during spring training each of the last two seasons.

The MVP of the 2009 World Series apparently is ready to move on to bigger things.

The Yankees on Tuesday announced that Matsui, whose last season with the Bombers was 2009, was named a special adviser to general manager Brian Cashman.

According to the club, Matsui will work with Cashman and player development vice president Gary Denbo.

"Matsui will spend the majority of the 2015 season traveling throughout the Yankees' minor-league system and focusing on aspects of hitting with managers, batting coaches and players," the Yankees said in a statement.

The 40-year-old Matsui played seven seasons with the Yankees (2003-2009), hitting .292 with a .370 on-base percentage with 140 homers and 597 RBIs in 916 games. He played three more seasons with the Angels, A's and Rays before retiring.

"I think he can add a lot to our organization," Joe Girardi said.

A-Rod works again at first

Alex Rodriguez, who stayed back to work out in Tampa, said he felt fine after playing in back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday.

"I actually felt a little better today than I did yesterday," said Rodriguez, who is likely to play back-to-back days during home games Wednesday and Thursday.

Rodriguez took a full round of batting practice and worked in the field, both at third base and at first, part of an experiment this spring to perhaps get the 39-year-old some time as a backup to Mark Teixeira.

"So far, so good," Rodriguez said of his workouts at first base so far. "Baby steps."

Ryan progressing

Shortstop Brendan Ryan, who has missed the last two weeks with a back strain, returned to the field for a light workout, running sprints in the outfield.

Extra bases

Top pitching prospect Luis Severino (strep throat) is expected back in camp Wednesday . . . Jose Pirela, trying to make the club as a utility infielder, went 1-for-2 with a walk to raise his spring average to .462 . . . Backup first baseman Garrett Jones was scratched because of a slight case of food poisoning.

With Greg Auman in Tampa

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