7/28/2013 5:36 P.M. ET
Former Yankee Matsui officially enters retirement
By Josh Vitale and David Wilson / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- At approximately 11:15 a.m. ET on Sunday, Hideki Matsui signed a one-day contract with the Yankees. One hour and 40 minutes later, the former star outfielder announced his retirement.
Matsui signed his voluntary retirement papers in a pregame ceremony behind home plate, officially retiring as a member of the Yankees as the Yankee Stadium crowd stood and applauded.
"I'd like to thank the Yankees organization, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me this opportunity," Matsui said through a translator. "I officially announced my retirement last year, but to be able to come back in this manner -- at the time, I never really imagined having this type of opportunity.
"To become a member of the Yankees and retire as a Yankee, I'm just so humbled and honored."
The Yankees played a video tribute chronicling Matsui's career in the Bronx on the scoreboard before their game against the Rays, and Matsui got a standing ovation as he rode from center field to home plate in a golf cart and waved to the fans.
Then, joined by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, senior vice president and assistant GM Jean Afterman, and his parents, Masao and Saeko, and his brother, Matsui signed his retirement papers and was presented with a matted and framed No. 55 jersey.
Shortstop Derek Jeter presented Matsui with the jersey, then the entire Yankees team joined him behind home plate.
"I think this moment will be a moment I never forget," Matsui said. "To be able to retire as a member of the team I aspired to and looked up to, I think there's nothing more fulfilling than that."
Fans were lined up outside the stadium well before the gates opened. The first 18,000 guests in attendance received a bobblehead which featured Matsui holding his 2009 World Series MVP trophy.
"I think it will be a combination of nostalgia and joy when I see those fans wearing No. 55s," Matsui said. "I will also be kind of impressed by them, the fact that they never threw [my jersey] away after all this time."
The former Yomiuri Giants star played seven seasons for the Yankees from 2003-09, batting .292 with 140 home runs and 597 RBIs. Matsui made the All-Star team in 2003 and '04, and his streak of 518 straight games played remains the longest run to start a career in Major League history.
"He came here, he was supposed to be this 'Godzilla' that hits home runs, but he was a situational hitter. Matsui moved runners when he had to move them, he got big hits, he drove guys in, he wanted to play every day," Jeter said. "I enjoyed getting to know him throughout the years. He's always been one of my favorite teammates, and he always will be."
"Not only was he a middle-of-the-order hitter that had great production, he was a staple in the clubhouse. He was adored by his teammates," manager Joe Girardi said. "You're going to have a hard time finding a player that was more liked in our clubhouse than Hideki Matsui over the years."
Matsui played his last game for the Yankees on Nov. 4, 2009, hitting a home run and driving in a World Series-record-tying six runs in a Game 6 victory over the Phillies, sealing New York's championship. He was a unanimous pick for Series MVP.
"Hideki represents everything the Yankees aspire to be," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I'm wearing a ring on this finger, this particular ring -- the 2009 ring -- thanks to Hideki Matsui's efforts. That's one of the reasons we gravitated to him. We thought he could take us to that next level, and, not surprisingly, he did that in Japan and did that for us as well."
Matsui played three more years after leaving the Yankees following the 2009 season, playing one season each with the Angels and the A's before playing 34 games for the Rays last year. He finished his career with a .282 batting average, 175 home runs and 760 RBIs.
While he doesn't have any particular plans for what his future holds just yet, Matsui said his baseball experience will likely be put to good use.
Nix to come off disabled list Tuesday in Los Angeles
NEW YORK -- After spending the past 3 1/2 weeks on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, Jayson Nix is ready to rejoin the Yankees.
On Sunday, the infielder said he spoke with manager Joe Girardi, who told him that he would be activated from the DL for Tuesday's game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Infielder David Adams was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Sunday's 6-5 win over the Rays.
Nix began running on Tuesday, and he played rehab games in Class A on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He went 1-for-10 in those games with a double and an RBI.
He's batting .236 with two home runs, 20 RBIs and 11 stolen bases with the Yankees this season.
"I never had any kind of setbacks or any kind of days where I didn't feel that good," Nix said. "As soon as I started doing stuff, I felt great."
• David Phelps will make another start on Tuesday with Double-A Trenton as he rehabs from a right forearm strain. The pitcher said he will get to throw five innings and will be on a 75-pitch limit.
Phelps pitched just 3 2/3 innings in a rehab start with Trenton last Tuesday, allowing a pair of earned runs with six strikeouts and three walks. Though there was some initial concern with the forearm injury, he's feeling better and would like to get back as soon as possible.
"It's not something you want to mess around with," Phelps said. "Get it taken care of and be back as soon as possible. It feels great now, so we'll see where we're at after Tuesday."
Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.