Yankees' Matsui makes rehab appearance in Trenton

TRENTON, N.J. -- Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui went 1-for-3 with an RBI single and an intentional walk Wednesday in his first rehab start, for the Yankees' Double-A Eastern League affiliate.

Matsui batted cleanup as the designated hitter for the Trenton Thunder in their 3-1 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs in the first game of the Eastern League Northern Division championship series.

After the game, which was attended by about 60 members of the Japanese media, the Yankees left fielder said that he felt more at ease as the game wore on and he faced live pitching for the first time in nearly four months.

"After each at-bat, the comfort level got better each time," Matsui said, adding his wrist felt fine, slapping it several times for emphasis.

He said it has been hard being away from his Yankee teammates.

"Once I got hurt, I accepted the situation," said Matsui, whose injury ended a streak of 1,250 consecutive games with the Yomiuri Giants and 518 with the Yankees. "The fact that I couldn't play the game is what I missed most."

Matsui will likely be restricted to designated hitter duty for the rest of the season, Yankees manager Joe Torre said before Monday night's game in Kansas City.

"We've got a lot invested in Matsui," Torre said. "If there is a concern, where he's out in left field, even though he's cured -- he's healed -- there still might be a time where he may to want to make a diving play, and we'd all hold our breath."

Even so, Torre said he and general manager Brian Cashman had not completely ruled out a return to the outfield for Matsui.

"We may be overcautious," Torre said. "We may find when we get home and talk to the doctors, they may have some different ideas."

Matsui said he was not frustrated about his injury, which happened as he tried for a sliding catch May 11 on a sinking line drive by Boston's Mark Loretta.

"When you get hurt and see a little bit of recovery, to me, I was amazed," he said. "It proved to me that there can be fun in rehab as well."

The Thunder issued 90 media credentials for the game.