Ed Price, of The Star-Ledger, reports the New York Yankees have placed outfielder Hideki Matsui (knee) on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left knee. The move is retroactive to Monday, June 23, the day after his last game action.
The Japanese import has been playing well so far this season. He is hitting .323 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs in 69 games. He also has a nice strikeout-to-walk ratio with 30 strikeouts and 31 walks. Matsui has played a majority of his games this season as the designated hitter but has also seen time in left and right field. Matsui has been a pretty consistent player when healthy during his career, which is why he was a solid choice generally taken within the top 100 picks of many fantasy drafts this season.
Matsui has hit at last 23 home runs in three of his four full seasons while driving in at least 100 runs in all of those years. Matsui had one of his typical solid seasons in 2007. He hit .285 with 25 home runs and 103 RBIs in 143 games. He struck out 73 times and walked 73 times last season.
However, he has been suffering injuries over the last few seasons. Matsui missed most of 2006 because of a broken left wrist and missed some time in 2007 with a hamstring injury before hurting his knee later on. He also had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in the offseason. Doctors said Matsui still had inflammation and fluid in his left knee.
From a fantasy perspective, Matsui going on the disabled list will hurt his owners because of the production he has shown this season and during his career. Owners in all formats should place Matsui on the DL if they have the roster space because Matsui could return around the All-Star break. If there is no room on a roster, Matsui should be stashed on the bench.
The player who benefits most from this transaction is outfielder Justin Christian. He was recalled three days ago because of the injuries to Matsui and outfielder Johnny Damon (foot). Prior to the first game of the Yankees' doubleheader June 27, he had gone 3-for-8 with two RBIs in his first two games with the Yankees. Christian was hitting .309 with four home runs, 39 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 55 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Christian will likely see more time in the outfield with the injuries to Matsui and Damon, so he could be a decent pickup in AL-only leagues and possibly deeper mixed leagues.
In the corresponding move to Matsui being placed on the DL, the Yankees recalled starting pitcher Sidney Ponson to make the start in the second game of the June 27 doubleheader. It is not known, however, how long he will stay with the team. Based on his performance with the Texas Rangers (4-1, 3.88 ERA), he's worth a flier in AL-only leagues and desperate owners in deep mixed formats if he can earn a permanent rotation spot.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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