Rays designate Matsui for assignment
Matsui’s designation was made to accommodate infielder Ryan Roberts, who was acquired by Tampa Bay from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, and speculation has already begun that the move could mark the beginning of the end of the Japanese slugger’s Major League career.
The Rays had signed Matsui to a Minor League deal on April 30, and despite posting just a .170 average at Triple-A, the 2009 World Series MVP was added to their Major League roster on May 29.
Unfortunately, Matsui’s struggles continued at the Major League level. He hit just .147 with two home runs and seven RBI in 95 at-bats for Tampa Bay, and a pinch-hit pop out in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Seattle left him hitless in his last 17 at-bats.
On Monday, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the team planned to stick with the struggling Matsui – quoting manager Joe Maddon as saying, “You have a man of his caliber, a man of his esteem on the bench right there. I know he's been struggling but at any moment it could possibly pop up and bite you in a good way.” – but that pinch-hit appearance ended up being his final one with the Rays.