Though he's returned to play against his former team as a member of the Angels and Athletics, the Japanese star still enjoys each chance he has to play at his old stomping grounds. This time, he'll do it as a member of the Rays, who open a three-game series against the Yankees on Tuesday.
"Certainly the World Series MVP, the World Series experience was great. But regardless of that, the overall experience for me -- everything was positive," Matsui said about his time in New York. "It was just a great experience, a great organization, great city, great fans."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who served as the team's manager for Matsui's final two seasons, is looking forward to the occasion, as well, though he knows how dangerous the slugger can be at game time.
"Obviously, I hope he doesn't do much against us, but it'll be good to see him," Girardi said. "The bottom line is, he can hit a home run against anyone if you don't make your pitches."
Matsui, who is batting .188 with two home runs, wasn't a member of Tampa Bay the last time the two clubs met, which saw New York take two of three at Yankee Stadium from May 8-10. The Rays previously swept the Yankees opening weekend at Tropicana Field.
Rays: Shields looks to turn luck around vs. Yankees
The Yankees have traditionally hit well against Rays starter James Shields, as the pitcher is just 5-12 with a 4.39 ERA in 23 career starts vs. them. He picked up the loss in his last start vs. New York, too, after giving up three solo home runs at Yankee Stadium.
The righty has had a mostly successful season, with a 6-3 record and 3.95 ERA. But Shields got roughed up in his last start, going six innings and allowing six runs in a loss to the White Sox. Five of the runs came in the sixth inning, but Shields believes he did well up to that point and can build on the outing.
"I looked at my video, and I still feel like I made good pitches," Shields said. "I'm not gonna dwell on what happened. Obviously, I want better results."
Yankees: Club returns home after successful road trip
New York will be back at home for the first time since May 23, though the time away from Yankee Stadium wasn't bad at all.
The Yankees began the trip picking up a sweep over the Athletics, winning one of three against the Angels and rebounding to win its most recent series versus the Tigers. In all, New York went 6-3 and trails Tampa Bay by 1 1/2 games in the American League East.
Following the upcoming series against the Rays, the Yankees will play host to their crosstown rivals, the Mets, before another Interleague series at the Braves.
Andy Pettitte is slated to make the start for New York on Tuesday. In three home starts this season, the 39-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA.
Rays outfielder Matt Joyce will be joining Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Curtis Granderson at the MLB Fan Cave on Tuesday to reveal the first All-Star Game balloting update.
Alex Rodriguez hit his eighth home run this season on Sunday, and has four in the last 10 games.
The Rays are 17-12 against AL East opponents, the best mark in the division.