Hideki Matsui close to deal with Rays

Updated: April 23, 2012, 9:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Tampa Bay Rays are close to signing designated hitter Hideki Matsui to a minor league deal, a source told ESPN The Magazine senior writer Buster Olney.

Matsui
Matsui

The source told Olney the Rays want to add to their depth at Triple-A Durham and to see how much is left in the slugger's bat.

Matsui, 37, spent last seaon with the Oakland Athletics, posting a .251 batting average with 12 home runs and 78 RBIs.

He spent his first seven MLB seasons with the Yankees where he was a two-time All-Star and won the 2009 World Series MVP.

Over his MLB career Matsui has hit .285 with 173 homers and 753 RBIs for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and A's.

Matsui was a star in Japan prior to signing with the Yankees, hitting .304 with 332 home runs in nine seasons with the Yomiuri Giants.