Rays Sign Hideki Matsui

9:29pm: Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times hears the team has not given Matsui any guarantees or promises about a call-up to the big leagues (Twitter link). Godzilla will likely join their Triple-A affiliate in mid-May.

10:13am: The Rays announced that they signed Hideki Matsui to a minor league contract. Matsui, who turns 38 in June, will report to extended Spring Training on Wednesday.

“Over the past two decades, Hideki has been one of the most consistently productive hitters in the world,” Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “We are happy to add his ability, approach and professionalism to our organization.”

Matsui spent last year with the Athletics and posted a .251/.321/.375 line with 12 home runs and 28 doubles in 585 plate appearances. However, he finished strong, posting a .295/.353/.425 line in the second half. Matsui, a Wasserman Media Group client, has been preparing for the 2012 season in the New York area, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network, who first reported that the sides were nearing a deal.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

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