TAMPA, Fla. – Hideki Matsui won’t play in the outfield for the New York Yankees until at least interleague road games in June and will be restricted to designated hitter and pinch-hitting appearances until then.

Matsui is recovering from left knee surgery last Sept. 22. Yankees manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to take the chance of a setback.

“The earliest we would need him in the outfield would be interleague, and that’s a ways off,” Girardi said Wednesday. “That’s why we envision him as our everyday DH. We need him. He’s a great RBI guy. He’s very important to our lineup.”

Matsui didn’t make the trip for Wednesday’s game against Houston at Kissimmee after being the DH the previous four days.

Houston’s Boone to have open heart surgery

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Aaron Boone of the Houston Astros will have open heart surgery to replace an aortic valve.

Boone made the announcement Wednesday, saying he has known about his heart condition since college but tests after his routine physical determined he needed surgery. It is not an emergency, but doctors indicated the procedure was needed.

He said doctors told him he could play baseball when he recovers, but he’s not sure whether he will.

An emotional Boone delivered the news flanked by general manager Ed Wade and manager Cecil Cooper and in front of a somber room filled with teammates and Astros officials.

“It definitely hits home, but I’m doing well with it,” Boone said. “I feel like I’m fairly educated on it now. I have a strong faith and a great family and friends and teammates. I really am doing well and I’m ready to tackle this thing and get it behind me and get on with life.”

Wade said a local doctor who did the team physicals and team physician Dr. Jim Muntz worked together to conduct tests on Boone because they knew of his condition.

“Unfortunately the test results came out indicating there was an acceleration of the condition that Aaron has been dealing with for a number of years,” Wade said.

He has a bicuspid aortic valve, a congenital defect where the valve has only two cusps to manage the flow of blood through the heart, as opposed to the normal three. The surgery has not been scheduled, but Boone expects to set a date for the procedure later this week.

Cubs retire Jenkins, Maddux number

MESA, Ariz. – The Chicago Cubs will retire the No. 31 worn by both Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux.

They two star right-handed pitchers will be honored at a ceremony May 3 before a game against Florida at Wrigley Field.

It will be the fifth number retired by the Cubs, joining No. 14 (Ernie Banks), No. 26 (Billy Williams), No. 10 (Ron Santo) and No. 23 (Ryne Sandberg).

Jenkins, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991, and Maddux, who won 355 games before retiring in December, are the first pitchers in Cubs history to have their numbers retired.

Jenkins retired before the 1984 season. When Maddux broke in with the Cubs two years later, he was given No. 31.

“I remember walking down the stairs there at the clubhouse. I got called up in September from Des Moines and it was just right there in my locker,” Maddux said of the No. 31. “Being 20 years old at the time the last thing I was going to do was complain about my number. I was just happy to be there.”

A few weeks later Maddux learned he had been given the same number that Jenkins wore with the Cubs.

“I thought that was pretty cool. They gave me Fergie’s number. I knew he was one of the best pitchers to ever play for the Cubs and for baseball period.”

Turns out Maddux became one of the greatest, too.

“Both of us had I think brilliant careers,” Jenkins said. “He won a Cy Young as a Cub and I did it, also. I think it was a productive number.”

Maddux said he didn’t give much thought to having his number retired during his first stint with Chicago from 1986-1992 but acknowledged he did during his second stretch.

“I thought it was pretty cool. I always liked seeing Ryno’s number up there because I had played with him,” Maddux said.

Jenkins went 167-132 with a 3.20 ERA in 401 appearances during two stints with the Cubs. He was a three-time NL All-Star (1967, 1971 and 1972) and won the 1971 NL. Cy Young Award after going 24-13. Maddux won 133 games for the Cubs and earned the first of four consecutive NL Cy Young Awards with the Cubs in 1992, when he went 20-11 with a 2.18 ERA. He then signed with Atlanta.


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