Matsui hitless in intrasquad game

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

TAMPA, Fla. -- Hideki Matsui went 0-for-2 in his first intrasquad game with the New York Yankees.

The three-time MVP of Japan's Central League started in left field and hit fifth for the "Gators," which included the regular starters.

"It's been a while since my last actual game," Matsui said through an interpreter. "I felt pretty good playing the game."

Matsui left after the fourth inning of the five-inning game so he could do his conditioning work before heading to an appointment with a dentist. Manager Joe Torre said Matsui might need a root canal.

"It was just picked up in routine stuff," Torre said. "It's nothing that has been bothering him."

Matsui is not expected to play in today's intrasquad game.

Whitney breaks leg

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Third baseman Matt Whitney, a first-round pick by the Cleveland Indians last June, broke a leg while retrieving a basketball and could miss the 2003 season.

Whitney and two minor leaguers were awaiting another player to go to dinner Sunday when they began shooting a basketball, according to John Farrell, the Indians' director of player development.

The ball got away, Whitney jogged to retrieve it and turned his ankle when he stepped on a box that covered a sprinkler head.

Whitney had surgery Monday at Celebration Hospital in Orlando to repair fractures to his left tibia and fibula.

Astros honor Columbia

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros will wear the mission patch from the space shuttle Columbia throughout the season to honor the astronauts who died earlier this month.

The Astros received permission from NASA and the families of the astronauts to wear the patch. The team also will conduct a special ceremony on opening day, April 1, at Minute Maid Park.

-- From wire reports

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