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What will Girardi do with Matsui in Philadelphia?

Oct 30, 2009, 2:14 PM EDT

With the World Series shifting to Philadelphia for the next three games and the designated hitter not in play, the Yankees are facing a decision about what to do with Hideki Matsui.
Matsui was one of the team’s best hitters during the regular season, batting .274/.367/.509 with 28 homers and 90 RBIs in 142 games, and after last night’s go-ahead blast off Pedro Martinez he’s now 10-for-36 (.278) with two homers in the playoffs.
However, because of knee problems Matsui hasn’t played the outfield for a single inning all season, and he’d have to dust off his glove and take the bags of ice off his knees to get into the starting lineup for Games 3, 4, and 5. Here’s what manager Joe Girardi said when asked if using Matsui in the outfield was an option in Philadelphia:

That’s something we’re going to have to talk about. We’ll see how he’s doing. We’ll have to see. We’ll make a decision when we get there. We have all day to think about it.

For his part, Matsui said: “If the manager decides to put me in the outfield, then I’m going to make sure that I am ready for that.” Nick Swisher has been so awful in the playoffs that Girardi benched him in favor of Jerry Hairston Jr. last night, which is an extreme enough measure to make me think that the Yankees skipper is probably leaning toward using Matsui in the outfield for at least one or two of the games in Philadelphia.
Matsui could be a disaster out there after his complete lack of action defensively, but if you’ve given up on Swisher to the point that you’re willing to start Hairston in right field for a World Series game … well, then you’re probably willing to role the dice on Matsui’s legs, right? Of course, with the way Girardi has tinkered and micro-managed his way through the playoffs it wouldn’t be surprising if Matsui, Hairston, and Swisher each get a start, and benching the slumping Johnny Damon probably isn’t out of the question either.

  1. Doug - Oct 30, 2009 at 4:15 PM

    Joe “Dr. Frankenstein” Giradi has been experimenting all season and the Yankees won 103 games doing it that way. So; I’m willing to give him a pass. Plus Swisher and Damon have not done anything to make people forget Reggie, Reggie, Reggie. Did I mention that Jackson was a below average outfielder

  2. comeonman - Oct 30, 2009 at 4:18 PM

    I’LL LET JOE MAKE THE CALL, HE HAS MANAGED THE TEAM TO 103 VICTORIES
    IN THE REGULAR SEASON AND 8 WINS IN THE POST SEASON, IF I’M CORRECT HE IS 3 WINS AWAY FROM THE WORLD SERIES TROPHY, NOT SO BAD, HUH.

  3. Ditto - Oct 30, 2009 at 4:26 PM

    Or maybe Girardi will use Matsui off the bench. It’s not like Joe is afraid to make changes in the middle of a game…

  4. wbahner - Oct 30, 2009 at 4:32 PM

    “I’LL LET JOE MAKE THE CALL” – Well, that’s mighty generous of you….

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