Strained hamstring lands Matsui on 15-day disabled list

NEW YORK -- Hideki Matsui wound up on the disabled list for
the second consecutive season Sunday after playing 1,768
consecutive games from 1994 until last May.

A day after Matsui strained his left hamstring running out a
grounder, the Yankees put him on the 15-day DL. New York, short on
outfielders, planned to recall Kevin Thompson from Triple-A
Scranton of the International League.

"When you play baseball this long, these things happen. There's
nothing you can do about it," Matsui said through a translator.
"I knew, of course, I wouldn't be able to talk them out of it. By
not going on the DL, I would be inconveniencing the team, so I
accepted it."

Center fielder Johnny Damon hasn't started since last Monday's
opener because of a strained right calf, but he did enter in the
late innings Saturday and Sunday. Miguel Cairo -- normally an
infielder -- started in left field Sunday against Baltimore.

Before replacing Matsui on Saturday, Cairo had made only five
outfield appearances since 2003. With the Yankees heading to
Minnesota for a three-game series on the Metrodome turf, manager
Joe Torre wants to be cautious with Damon.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said an MRI exam showed a
small amount of blood near Matsui's injury.

"It's something we just don't want to play with," Cashman
said. "Our experience is that it usually takes 15 days or so."

Last year, second baseman Robinson Cano injured a hamstring
running the bases on June 25 and didn't return until Aug. 8.

Matsui didn't want any days off after joining the Yankees in
2003. His streak started with the Yomiuri Giants (1,250 games) and
continued with the Yankees (518) until last year, when he was
sidelined from May 11 to Sept. 12 with a broken left wrist.

Citing Matsui's great condition, Torre attributed the hamstring
injury to the temperature, which has been in the 30s for much of
the homestand.

"To a certain extent, weather might have been a factor, yes,"
Matsui said.