TOKYO (AFP) — Japanese baseball star Hideki Matsui expressed hope Friday that recent surgery on his troubled knee would give his career a boost after what he called a bad season with the New York Yankees.
"To put it in one word, it wasn't a very good year," the 33-year-old told reporters on his return home from New York. "We did not stop short by a step but by a few steps."
Matsui was plagued by recurring pain in the right knee for much of the season and his poor form coincided with the club's 1-3 defeat to the Cleveland Indians in the best-of-five American League division post-season series.
He finished the regular season with a .285 batting average, 25 homeruns and 103 RBIs in 143 games, failing in his bid to win the World Series for the fifth straight year since moving to US Major League Baseball.
Matsui, who served as a designated hitter toward the end of the season instead of his usual position in the left outfield, underwent endoscopic surgery to correct cartilage in the knee on November 14.
"My knee is all right now and I have no problem with walking in everyday life," Matsui said, adding he would resume training at the beginning of the new year. "I want to train myself steadily by confirming the condition of the knee."
"I want to build up my condition and go for it with a fresh frame of mind," added the former Yomiuri Giants slugger.
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