Manager Joe Girardi said after New York lost for just the second time in 14 games on Sunday, 10-3 to Seattle, that the designated hitter will have his surgically repaired knee reevaluated on Tuesday to see if the 35-year-old can play the second game of a series at Oakland. That's New York's next stop on its season-long, 10-game road trip.
"That is why we are careful with him, because he is really important to our lineup," Girardi said.
Matsui had his second two-homer game of the season and a season-high five RBIs on Friday. He spoke afterward with huge ice packs on both knees, then sat out Saturday.
Mark Teixeira went 0-for-4 with a strikeout as a DH Sunday, which was a planned day game off for Matsui following a night game anyway. Nick Swisher hit his 20th home run of the season while at Teixeira's usual spot of first base. And Eric Hinske went 1-for-4 while playing right field, where Swisher has started 89 times this season.
Matsui had arthroscopic surgery on his knee last Sept. 22, then had his knee drained earlier this season. Girardi has used him exclusively at DH in 80 starts this season.
"It is hard not having him in there," Girardi said, "but you have to be smart about it."
Jorge Posada was back at catcher for the second time since having foul tips bang off his mask, two hands and foot in a particularly brutal win over Toronto on Wednesday.
Girardi gave struggling Melky Cabrera, who has 2 hits in 21 at-bats, what the manager said was a day off planned a while ago. Versatile Jerry Hairston Jr., who played third base the first two games of the Seattle series while Alex Rodriguez sat out with a sore elbow and back, replaced Cabrera in center field.
Rodriguez made his second consecutive start at third base and went 1-for-4 with a run and a strikeout that delighted Seattle's second sellout crowd of the season. Mariners fans still boo A-Rod lustily for leaving the team with which he grew up as the No. 1 overall pick in 1993, to sign a $252 million contract with Texas in 2000.
Hairston misplayed a bloop single by Ken Griffey Jr. leading off the seventh. He went back two steps toward the warning track before the ball dropped in several feet in front of him. The play started Seattle's five-run rally that turned a taut, 4-3 game into what ultimately was the Mariners' biggest rout of New York in eight years.