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No hits for you: Matsui goes 0-for-2 in debut

©Associated Press

February 25, 2003

TAMPA -- Hideki Matsui went 0-for-2 Monday in his first intrasquad game with the Yankees.

The three-time MVP of Japan's Central League started in leftfield and hit fifth for the "Gators," which included the regular starters and beat the Reggies 4-3.

"It's been a while since my last actual game," Matsui said through an interpreter. "I felt pretty good playing the game."

Matsui left after the fourth inning of the five-inning game so he could do his conditioning work before an appointment with a dentist. Manager Joe Torre said Matsui might need a root canal.

"It was just picked up in routine stuff," Torre said. "It's nothing that has been bothering him."

Matsui is not expected to play today.

Matsui's first at-bat, against minor-league pitcher Alex Graman, came with runners on first and second and two outs in the first. On a 2-and-0 pitch, he grounded out to first baseman Fernando Seguignol.

"I was just trying to get a feel with playing the actual game," Matsui said. "Also, getting a feel of the pitchers."

Matsui's second at-bat came as the leadoff hitter in the fourth. He hit a high pop fly on an 1-and-0 pitch by minor-leaguer Jason Anderson that was caught in shallow right by Marcus Thames.

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