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Mets introduce Kaz Matsui

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Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - With New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg in attendance, the Big Apple introduced its second Matsui on Wednesday, as the finalized a contract for star Japanese shortstop . Matsui inked a three-year deal worth a reported $20.1 million. Although he's not related to New York outfielder , Kaz, as he wants to be known, comes to the with high expectations for himself and for their fans.

While being introduced at the podium, Kaz Matsui said he borrowed a 1986 World Series ring from one of the owners. "I'm going to do my best to bring another one (championship) to the city for the New York ," Matsui said through an interpreter.

The plan on moving from shortstop to second to clear the way for

Matsui. That is expected to give the team a strong double-play combination.

"With Matsui and anchoring the middle part of our lineup and our infield, we feel we'll have one of the best double-play combinations and most athletic top of the lineups in the game," said general manager Jim Duquette.

The are trying to turn around the misfortunes of finishing in last place in the National League East the previous two seasons, including a 66-95 record in 2003.

The 28-year-old shortstop had played with the Seibu Lions where he batted .305 with 33 homers and 84 RBI last season. The switch-hitting Matsui, who was league MVP in 1998, is a seven-time All Star and four-time Golden Glove winner. He also led the Pacific League in stolen bases twice.

Kaz Matsui was asked if his home run numbers will peter out, similar to in his first year with the , as he hit 16 for the Bronx Bombers after belting 332 homers in 10 seasons in Japan.

"I don't consider myself a home run hitter," Matsui said through an interpreter. "I'm just going to try and get up to the plate and hit, run hard and beat out hits, and get as many as I can."

Kaz Matsui becomes the first Japanese infielder to be signed by a major league team, although ' outfielder did play in several games in the infield last year for the .

Matsui is one of only eight players in Japan since 1950 to hit .300 or better with 30 or more home runs and 30 or more stolen bases. He left the Seibu Lions after playing in 1,143 straight games, the fifth-longest in Japanese history.

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