Trenton Takes On Godzilla

Matsui took batting practice in Staten Island

Hideki Matsui is nearly ready to rejoin the Yankees' line-up after missing months with a fractured wrist. He began his rehab assignment Monday and PinstripesPlus caught up with Matsui for an exclusive interview before he joins the Trenton Thunder for their playoff run.

Matsui took batting practice in the Bronx during the Yankees' weekend home stand, but began a rehab assignment when the team left for Kansas City. Matsui reported to Staten Island first to continue taking batting practice on Monday and Tuesday. Due to the weather conditions, Matsui took his swings in the inside cage on Tuesday, away from reporters.

"Batting practice was great and my wrist feels fine," Matsui said. "It feels great."

Matsui has extensively tested his wrist and is ready to see live game action. On Wednesday, he will join the Trenton Thunder as the team's designated hitter during their playoff run. It will be the first time Matsui has played in a game since May 11.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said Matsui. "As a baseball player, it's natural to want to play in a game. So I'm definitely excited."

Matsui's late return means there are few minor league games left for rehab starts. With their playoff berth, the Thunder have at least three games left, depending on how far they go into the playoffs. Matsui does not know how long his rehab will last, but he does not think he will need more games than Trenton can offer.

"I'm not sure as far as an exact date," Matsui said of when he would come off the disabled list, "but I'm sure I'll play a couple of games. Perhaps by the end of Trenton's season, perhaps I'll be back with the team by then."

Matsui's brief stay in Staten Island was a pleasant surprise for fans and players alike. Richmond County Ballpark opened its gates hours earlier than normal so fans could watch Matsui's batting practice sessions at 3:30 PM.

Meanwhile, the Baby Bombers clubhouse was excited to meet the superstar outfielder as well. Tim Norton, Colin Curtis, and Mitch Hilligoss told PinstripesPlus that they had spoken with Matsui. Each came away with positive impressions of the leftfielder and were happy for the chance to meet him.

As Matsui leaves Staten Island and heads to Trenton, he also left with a favorable impression of the young prospects.

"I didn't have time to really talk in depth as far as advice and all that," Matsui admitted, "but I practiced with them and conversed with them as well. Hopefully, pretty soon I'll see them in the Major Leagues. There's a bunch of good players here."

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