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