Surgery on Matsui's wrist successful

Surgery on Matsui's wrist successful

NEW YORK -- Yankees left fielder Hideki Matsui underwent successful surgery on Friday morning, roughly 12 hours after suffering a fractured left wrist in the first inning of Thursday's game against the Red Sox.

The surgery to repair the radius bone, which was performed by Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser, a hand specialist, and Dr. Stuart Hershon, the Yankees' team physician, took place at Manhattan's Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

Matsui, who had pins inserted into his wrist, is expected to make a full recovery, though he will likely miss at least the next three months, if not the entire 2006 season. He spent Thursday night in the hospital and will stay there until Saturday, when he may visit his teammates at Yankee Stadium.

"Due to this injury, I feel very sorry and, at the same time, very disappointed to have let my teammates down," Matsui said in a statement released by the team. "I will do my best to fully recover and return to the field to help my team once again."

"That's all about responsibility, what he thinks his responsibility is, and that's to this team and this organization," Torre said of the statement. "He's done it before, where he'd make an error, then come up and apologize to me."

General manager Brian Cashman and assistant GM Jean Afterman visited Matsui in the hospital on Friday after the surgery. Cashman said that Matsui's arm was wrapped "like a mattress" in the hospital.

"His spirits are good," Cashman said. "He looked good, considering what he went through."

"Matsui is a much valued player and friend," said owner George Steinbrenner in a statement issued by his publicist, Howard Rubenstein. "I'm sorry for him and our many friends in Japan. I know how reliable and resilient he is, and that he will come back strong."

Although the surgery went off without a hitch, the Yankees don't have any better idea of whether or not they'll have Matsui back in left field this season.

"It's going to be nip and tuck; we may get him back, we may not," Cashman said. "He's broken a lot of records in his career. Now we'll hope he can break the record of healing from an injury like this."

The injury snapped Matsui's consecutive-games-played streak, which stood at 518 with New York and 1,768 overall, including his time in Japan.

"I would like to thank Joe Torre from the bottom of my heart for having been considerate of my consecutive-games-played streak these past several years and for placing me in the lineup every day," Matsui also said in the statement.

The Yankees have been playing without right fielder Gary Sheffield since May 6, as the right fielder is on the disabled list with a left wrist injury of his own. Sheffield's injury is not as serious as Matsui's, and he is expected back before the end of May.

Bernie Williams started in right field on Friday, while Melky Cabrera got the nod in left field. Bubba Crosby will see plenty of time in right field as well, as Torre plans to use Williams as the DH most of the time, especially against right-handed starters.

"[Cabrera] thought left field was probably more comfortable for him than right field," Torre said. "We'll find out; we'll put him out there and see what it looks like."

"I'm definitely more prepared for a situation like this than I was two years ago," Crosby said. "I came from playing every day in the Minor Leagues to trying to learn how to be a bench player. In my first couple of years I struggled, and my swing suffered from it."

Cashman said that he hadn't spoken with any other GMs on Friday about adding an outfielder, as he plans to see whether the Yankees can fill their holes from within the organization.

"I can't predict where we'll be in two weeks or two months," Cashman said. "Last year, we tried a lot of young guys; some of them worked, some of them didn't. I'm sure this year will be no different. Some of the things we'll try will work and some of them won't."

"There's always a chance to help your ballclub, Brian is on the phone all the time, but I'm not running back to my office to see if there's a message," Torre said. "The people on the field, the 25 players we have, are the ones we're going to go to war with."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.