Report: Matsui passes physical, expected to sign with Astros

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros traded for Tampa Bay third baseman
Ty Wigginton late last season to try and add some offense to their infield. The revamping of the infield may continue as the Astros appear close to adding Colorado Rockies second baseman Kazuo Matsui, too.

KRIV-TV reported on its Web site Saturday that Matsui, who arrived in Houston on Friday, has passed his team physical, clearing the way for the team to announce his signing Sunday. According to the Fox affiliate in Houston, the Astros and Matsui have agreed to a three-year deal worth more than $15 million.

Matsui, 32, hit .288 with 24 doubles, 37 RBIs and 32 stolen bases as the Rockies advanced to the first World Series in team history last fall. His bat should help the Astros, who were among the MLB's worst in many offensive categories including a .260 team batting average.

The Rockies originally acquired Matsui from the New York Mets in a June 9, 2006 trade for Eli Marrero. Matsui hit .267 with three home runs and 26 RBI in 70 games with the Rockies and Mets last season, but played better after the trade to Colorado. He batted .345 with 22 runs scored, two homers, 19 RBI, and had a .392 on-base percentage in 32 games with Colorado in 2006.

Matsui spent just over two months at Triple-A Colorado Springs before making his Rockies debut on Aug. 23, 2006, at Milwaukee, becoming the first Japanese position player to play for Colorado.

Matsui became the first Japanese infielder to sign in the majors when he signed with the Mets in 2003. A seven-time All-Star in Japan, Matsui is a career .266 hitter with 13 homers and 94 RBIs in 271 games over three seasons with the Mets and Rockies.

Citing team policy, Astros GM Ed Wade declined comment to KRIV on Matsui's deal.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.