NEW YORK: Hideki Matsui, a Japanese outfielder who was Most Valuable Player of the 2009 World Series won by the New York Yankees, will sign a one-day contract in July so he can retire as a member of the Yankees.
The famed Major League Baseball team announced on Thursday that Matsui, who turns 39 on June 12, will announce his official retirement on July 28 at a ceremony before the Yankees play Tampa Bay, with whom Matsui played in 2012.
Matsui will be honored at the Yankees' scheduled 55th home game of the season, in tribute to Matsui's former Yankee uniform number, 55.
After a decade with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League, Matsui came to North America in 2003 and spent seven seasons with the Yankees, including their all-time record 27th World Series championship campaign.
Matsui hit .615 with three home runs and drove in eight runs during the 2009 best-of-seven final, in which the Yankees beat Philadelphia in six games.
As a Yankee, Matsui blasted 140 homers, 196 doubles and drove in 597 runs with a .292 batting average over 916 regular-season games.
The two-time All-Star spent the 2010 season with the Los Angeles Angels, the 2011 campaign with Oakland and last year with Tampa Bay, but he managed only two homers and seven runs batted in over 34 games for the Rays, batting a career-worst .147.
Nicknamed 'Godzilla', Matsui ended his North American career with a .282 batting average, 175 homers and 760 runs batted in over 1,236 games.