TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees left fielder Hideki Matsui doesn't
expect talks on his possible contract extension to be completed
during spring training.
Arn Tellem, Matsui's agent, and Yankees general manager Brian
Cashman started negotiations Saturday.
Matsui is due $8 million in 2005, the final season of a $21
million, three-year deal. He has a clause in his contract that
requires the Yankees to put him on waivers unless a new contract is
agreed to by Nov. 15.
"Probably not going to be anything that's going to happen prior
to the beginning of the season," Matsui said through an
interpreter Sunday. "My original plan was to play through my three
years and then decide where to go from there. That was my original
plan when I came here, and that still is."
The 30-year-old outfielder was a three-time MVP in Japan's
Central League before joining the Yankees in 2003. He hit .298 with
31 homers and 108 RBI last season after batting .287 with 16
homers and 106 RBI in his first season in New York.
"He wants to stay here, we want to keep him, so you have to
assume that it will get done," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Matsui again said he has no current interest in leaving the
"Right now, no," Matsui said. "I don't have any thoughts like
When asked about Matsui on Saturday, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said he would love for him to remain with the Yankees before adding that he didn't like Tellem. He also used a four-letter profanity in reference to Tellem.
Matsui doesn't think that will have any impact on negotiations.
"I have no concern at all," he said.
Neither Matsui or team officials believe the extension will
become a distraction if talks are not completed before opening day.
"I'd be very surprised if it affected him," Torre said. "He's
going to leave it to somebody else and do what he knows best. He's
here to play baseball. To me, that's the only thing he's going to
concern himself with other than being kept up to date on what's