Matsui 'disappointed' after wrist surgery

Updated: May 12, 2006, 10:07 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Immediately following surgery Friday to repair a broken wrist that will sideline him for at least three months, Hideki Matsui apologized for getting hurt.

Left Field
New York Yankees

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2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
32 5 19 21 .353 .261

Matsui was injured trying to make a diving catch in left field during the New York Yankees' 5-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night. The broken radius bone ended his consecutive games played streak that dated to August 1993 and included 1,250 games with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan and 518 with the Yankees.

"Due to this injury, I feel very sorry and, at the same time, very disappointed to have let my teammates down," Matsui said in a statement. "I will do my best to fully recover and return to the field to help my team once again."

Yankees manager Joe Torre spoke with Matsui, who was operated on at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Torre expects Matsui will return to the ballpark in the next few days and remain in the New York area while his wrist heals.

Torre wasn't surprised by the apology.

"It's all about responsibility -- what he thinks his responsibility is to this team, this organization, because the Yankees committed to him and he feels it's a two-way street in that regard," Torre said. "He's done that before here, where he's made an error, he's come up and apologized to me."

Matsui's statement also praised his manager.

"I would like to thank Joe Torre from the bottom of my heart for having been considerate of my consecutive games played streak these past several years and for placing me in the lineup every day," he said.

With right fielder Gary Sheffield also on the disabled list with a left wrist injury that will keep him out of the lineup until at least late May, New York will go with a makeshift outfield that includes Bubba Crosby and Melky Cabrera in the corners on most days, with Bernie Williams sharing time.

Torre estimated that Matsui will miss most of the remainder of the season.

"We don't know what the timetable is. It's probably a minimum of three months," Torre said. "I think my feeling is, with everything involved and trying to get back into game shape, it's probably closer to the end of the year, the end of the season."

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner tried to call Matsui.

"Matsui is a much-valued player and friend," Steinbrenner said in a statement issued by spokesman Howard Rubenstein. "I'm sorry for him and for our many friends in Japan. I know how resilient he is, and I know he will come back strong."

Matsui was put on the 15-day disabled list, and outfielder Kevin Reese was recalled from Triple-A Columbus.

"I was back at my place in Columbus, and getting ready packing for Norfolk," said Reese, who got the call about 12:30 a.m. "I was supposed to fly out this morning. A little nicer here."

Reese had gone out with Clippers teammates to watch Thursday night's game. He didn't see the play when Matsui got hurt, but then saw a replay.

"I started getting all these text messages from my family and stuff, `What's going on?"' Reese said.

Reese was picked over Columbus teammate Kevin Thompson.

"He called me. He said, `You hear anything?"' Reese recalled. "I said, 'No, have you?' And he said, 'No.' He told me to call him if I heard anything, but I didn't get the call till late and didn't exactly know how to make that phone call, anyway."

Torre addressed the Yankees before Friday night's game against Oakland to tell them how the surgery went. After getting about an hour of treatment on his shoulder and foot, center fielder Johnny Damon said the absences of Matsui and Sheffield left a big void.

"That's two to three runs a game. And that's quality at-bats that give us more and more chances to succeed," Damon said. "But we know what we have to do. We know during this time when Gary's out, we've got to bear down."

Damon said that when he ran into the center-field wall to catch a drive by Doug Mirabelli on Thursday, "It rattled me a little bit."

"I got to try to be a little more graceful," he said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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