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11/14/07 5:50 PM ET

Matsui undergoes right knee surgery

Rehab program to begin Friday; DH expected healthy for '08

NEW YORK -- Hideki Matsui underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Wednesday, addressing an ailment that slowed him in the 2007 regular season's final months.

Matsui, 33, was hampered considerably by pain and swelling in his right knee down the stretch for the Yankees, limiting his mobility and eventually prompting increased use as a designated hitter rather than a left fielder.

The procedure, a cleaning of the inside of his right knee, was performed by Dr. Scott Rodeo at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Knee ailments are not new for Matsui; he assembled his lengthy playing streak with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Central League largely by playing through an arthritic left knee.

The Yankees said in a statement that Matsui is scheduled to begin his rehabilitation program on Friday in New York and is scheduled to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

Matsui batted .285 with 25 home runs and 103 RBIs in 143 games for New York in 2007, making 111 starts in left field and 32 more as a designated hitter.

Though Matsui drove in 100 runs for the fourth time in five Major League seasons and scored more than 100 runs for the third time in four years, he also saw his defensive playing time diminish, as Johnny Damon took over duties in left field for the close of the season.

Matsui, who has two years remaining on a four-year, $52 million contract that was signed before the 2006 season, projects to share time in left field with Damon next season while also serving as an additional DH alongside Jason Giambi.

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