Maddon trying to keep Matsui fresh

Maddon trying to keep Matsui fresh

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays outfielder Hideki Matsui was removed from the lineup after the sixth inning of Friday's 5-0 win over the Orioles after going 1-for-3 with a two-run homer.

Manager Joe Maddon subbed in Rich Thompson to play left field and said it was to give Matsui rest. Maddon said he wanted to preserve him, saying "he's not 23 anymore."

The veteran Matsui said he was alright with the move and wanted to help the team in any way he could.

Matsui has appeared in three games -- starting two of them in left field -- and has done well. In nine at-bats, Matsui has two hits, both of which were two-run home runs. He is slated to bat sixth in Saturday's matchup with Baltimore and play left field.