Matsui returns with three at-bats

Matsui returns with three at-bats

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Making his way back from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee performed in November, Hideki Matsui made his first appearance in Grapefruit League action on Sunday. Serving as the designated hitter, Matsui went 0-for-3 in the Yankees' 6-4 win over the Twins.

Matsui has been brought along slowly in his rehab. He also suffered a stiff neck last week that briefly sidelined him from batting-practice drills.

Last season, Matsui played in 143 games for the Yankees -- 112 in left field and 32 as the DH -- batting .285 with 25 home runs and 103 RBIs. In his three at-bats on Sunday, Matsui grounded into a double play in the first inning, flied out to right fielder Carlos Gomez in the third and lined out to first baseman Justin Morneau in the fifth before giving way to Greg Porter in the seventh.

Despite the 0-fer, Matsui said it was good to be back in the lineup.

"No problems during the game," he said through a translator after the game. "Even thought it was a while, I didn't really have too many problems."

Matsui was unsure when he would return to the outfield.

"I feel like it's not going to take too long," Matsui said. "After running today -- I ran to first base -- I felt pretty good."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was pleased with Matsui's performance.

"Great," Girardi said. "[He] hit two balls right on the nose. Normal days, he's got a home run. The one ball, he hit a bullet to first base. I thought he looked really good."

Matsui will be re-evaluated on Monday before a decision is made on his next appearance.

"We'll talk to him, see how he feels [on Monday] and make a decision," said Girardi.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.