A free agent, Matsui retires

New York - Free agent slugger Hideki Matsui has retired from professional baseball, saying he is no longer able to perform at the level that earned him a World Series MVP with the New York Yankees and three Central League MVPs in Japan.

Matsui announced his retirement Thursday at a news conference in New York that was conducted only in Japanese and broadcast live in his home country.

Nicknamed Godzilla, the 38-year-old Matsui batted .282 with 175 homers and 760 RBI for the Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays. Before joining the Yankees in 2003, Matsui played 10 seasons for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.

Always cool under pressure, Matsui hit a grand slam in his first game at Yankee Stadium and had six RBI in his finale with the Yankees - Game 6 of the 2009 World Series.

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