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Matsui placed on 15-day DL, Kevin Thompson recalled

NEW YORK -- The Yankees placed Hideki Matsui on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, one day after the outfielder strained his left hamstring while running out a ground ball.

The assignment is the second in less than a year for Matsui, who missed four months last season with a broken left wrist. He strained the hamstring in the second inning of Saturday's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

"When you play baseball, these things happen," Matsui said through an interpreter. "You just can't help it. I look forward to just getting back as soon as possible."

To fill Matsui's place on the 25-man roster, the Yankees recalled outfielder Kevin Thompson from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Thompson batted .300 in 19 games for the Yankees last season across three stints, and is expected to assume Melky Cabrera's role as a reserve when he meets the team in Minnesota on Monday.

Manager Joe Torre had been optimistic in his earliest assessment of Matsui's condition, saying that the outfielder could perhaps rejoin the club within three to five days.

But an MRI exam performed on Sunday showed some blood, indicating a strain, and Torre said that the move to the disabled list was triggered in Matsui's interests.

"He certainly understood," Torre said. "I think the biggest thing is that you protect the player against himself at this point in time."