BALTIMORE—Hideki Matsui was cut by the Tampa Bay Rays to make room for newcomer Ryan Roberts, who was in the starting lineup against the Orioles on July 25.
The 38-year-old Japanese slugger was designated for assignment. The 2009 World Series Most Valuable Player for the New York Yankees was batting .147 with two homers and seven RBIs and was hitless in his last 16 trips to the plate.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he spoke with Matsui and his interpreter on the night of July 24.
“He was stoic. He understood the move,” Maddon said. “I told him I wanted him to understand from the Rays that we wanted to do what was best for him and be amiable to what he wanted to do.”
Tampa Bay obtained Roberts on July 24 from Arizona for minor league second baseman Tyler Bortnick.
Maddon and Roberts spoke briefly before the game on July 25. Maddon said Roberts will likely see most of his playing time at third base until injured Evan Longoria returns from the 60-day disabled list.
“He's a real eager player. He plays hard and he has a lot of skills we value,” Maddon said of Roberts. “He has been a good decision maker at the plate. His walks offset his strikeouts. And has some power. He is a very interesting player. He definitely fits into our culture.”
With Arizona this season, Roberts hit .250 with six home runs and 39 runs batted in over 83 games. He was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks on July 24 before being traded.
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