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Matsui lets game do talking
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07/12/2004  6:25 PM ET
Matsui lets game do talking
All-Star outfielder prefers to shy away from hype
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Hideki Matsui has 17 homers and 58 RBIs at the All-Star break. (Daria Debuono/
HOUSTON -- With a year and a half under his belt in the Major Leagues, Hideki Matsui looks more comfortable both on and off the field. Now a two-time All-Star, Matsui looks sure of himself whether he is facing Pedro Martinez or answering questions from the media.

Until the topic of his inclusion on the All-Star team comes up, anyway.

The humble Matsui won't say whether or not he feels he deserves to be in Houston as part of the AL All-Star team, even though he was elected by the fans during the Ameriquest 2004 All-Star Final Vote. But with 17 home runs, 58 RBIs, 60 runs scored and a .294 average, the Yankees' left fielder has certainly proven himself worthy of a roster spot.

"It's hard for me to judge my own statistics," Matsui said through an interpreter. "But compared to last year, I may be a little more worthy of being an All-Star."

Matsui was elected as a starter in his rookie campaign of 2003, though he had just nine home runs and 46 runs scored. His average was a tad higher (.299) and he had 66 RBIs, but he believed that his popularity contributed more to his selection in the Majors than his performance.

2004 All-Star Game

"Looking back, the biggest difference was that in Japan, I felt I should be a part of the team," Matsui said. "Last year, I wasn't sure whether or not I was worthy of being there."

Matsui went 1-for-2 in last year's Midsummer Classic at U.S. Cellular Field, but his most memorable moment had nothing to do with his own performance.

"The whole experience was great for me last year," Matsui said. "The moment that stands out in my mind is Hank Blalock's home run and our comeback. That was the most memorable for me."

A true team player, Matsui is looking forward to this year's contest, as he will be surrounded by several familiar faces. Seven of Matsui's Yankee teammates are on the AL squad, which is managed by Joe Torre.

"Compared to last year, I think I'll be more calm and comfortable," Matsui said. "I should be able to enjoy it a little more. It should be a good time because of all of the Yankees who are here."

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

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