Rays Roundup: Matsui Gets Royal Treatment

In this edition of Rays Roundup: Hideki Matsui homers after getting royal treatment from his new teammates, James Shields suffers a rare rocky home outing, Kyle Farnsworth is throwing off a mound and Brandon Guyer is due to have season-ending surgery for a torn labrum. All of that and more inside.

INSIDE PITCH

Matsui homers after new teammates give him royal treatment

The Rays welcomed outfielder Hideki Matsui to the team Tuesday afternoon in their own unique way -- with strobe lights, a disco ball, loud music, slaps on the back and shoulders. Then, his new teammates let Matsui light the Captain Morgan sign that hangs on the wall in a corner of the clubhouse.

This is the typical scene after a home win, with the player of the game lighting the sign.

"Our team is different," right-hander James Shields said. "That's what we wanted to show him, our team is different in a very positive way. We have a lot of fun in here. That's what we wanted to show him right out of the gate before the game. I think it just kind of loosened him up a little bit."

Matsui was so loose he hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning for the Rays' only runs a 7-2 loss to the White Sox at Tropicana Field.

Afterward, Matsui said he was a bit surprised by the reception, which occurred when he returned to the clubhouse after meeting with reporters in front of the Rays dugout.

"I was welcomed in a way that I have never experienced in my life before, let's put it that way," he said through his interpreter Roger Kahlon.

Not even with the Yankees?

"No," Matsui said with a smile.

The Rays signed Matsui to add a professional bat the lineup and some depth to the bench. He started in left field and went 1-for-4.

"Outstanding," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He looked really good. I thought he had really good swings all night. Good at-bats. He moved well, even on that ground ball."


NOTES, QUOTES

Shields endures rare rocky home outing

--RHP James Shields allowed five runs in the sixth inning and lost for only the second time in his last 13 starts at Tropicana Field. The White Sox sent 10 batters to plate and had five consecutive hits. It was the third time in 1,300 career innings that Shields allowed five consecutive hits.

--OF Hideki Matsui's home run was the third time he's homered in his home debut during his major league career. He also did with the Yankees against the Twins on April 8, 2003, and with the Angels against the Twins on April 5, 2010.

--OF Brandon Guyer was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for OF Hideki Matsui. Guyer is due to undergo season-ending surgery this week to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder.

--C/OF Stephen Vogt was optioned to Class AAA Durham to make room for Matsui on the 25-man roster. Vogt was hitless in 17 at-bats over 10 games with Tampa Bay this season.

--LF Matt Joyce moved to right field and RF Ben Zobrist moved to second base Tuesday. It's a lineup manager Joe Maddon might use often to get OF Hideki Matsui in the lineup. Maddon also said Matsui could serve as the designated hitter against lefties since he began this season batting .285 for his career against both righties and lefties.

--RHP Kyle Farnsworth (right elbow strain) threw 25 fastballs in the bullpen Monday, and he is scheduled to threw 30 pitches in the bullpen before Wednesday's game. He said he would mix cutters in with this fastball.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Stolen bases in 39 games this season for SS Elliot Johnson. He had six in 77 career games entering this year.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's professional hitter. He works a really good at-bat. His bat-to-ball skills are elite. For our young guys to watch him and the way he goes about it both in the batter's box and off the field I think will only help." -- Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, on OF Hideki Matsui.


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