The Tampa Bay Rays have purchased the contract of designated hitter Hideki Matsui from Triple-A Durham.
The former-New York Yankees outfielder and DH— who went by the nickname Godzilla— was a fan favorite for six years in the Bronx before being released in 2010. His quiet demeanor and consistent play were rewarded by two MLB All-Star selections and a World Series title in 2009— when he was named the series MVP.
Matsui, who turns 38 on June 12, played 13 games with Durham after signing a minor league contract with Tampa Bay on April 30. He joined the Rays' roster prior to tonight's game against the Chicago White Sox.
The Japanese slugger had a splendid career with the Yankees before going to the Los Angeles Angels (2010) and the Oakland A's (2011) following a 10-year career with the Yomuri Giants of Japan's Central League— where he was considered more God-like than Godzilla.
When he returned to Japan for the Yankees season opening series against Tampa Bay in 2004, he was mobbed wherever he went. His Yankees teammates were unaware of his popularity in Japan and found themselves in awe of his celebrity and the amount of hysteria he generated in his home land.
To make room for Matsui on the roster, the Rays optioned outfielder-designated hitter Stephen Vogt to Durham and transferred outfielder Brandon Guyer from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
Matsui hit 33 home runs and knocked in 150 runs during the past two seasons.
Cue up Blue Oyster Cult down at the Trop.