Matsui gets the start on his birthday

Matsui gets the start on his birthday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays outfielder Hideki Matsui hasn't been in the starting lineup since last Wednesday, but manager Joe Maddon had a good reason to insert him into Tuesday's lineup.

"It's very easy -- it's Matsui's birthday," Maddon said. "That's it."

The always-colorful Maddon then tried to justify his reason even further, saying Matsui was primed to have a big game because of the occasion.

"Sometimes you have to look beyond the stats and numbers and just look at the birthday," Maddon said.

He even went as far as to say that he read somewhere that players who played on their birthdays this season had good games.

Members of the Japanese media even took part in the celebration. They presented Matsui with a giant red velvet cake, complete with a Rays hat and baseball decorations and "38" across the front for the now 38-year-old.