Hideki Matsui is set to be introduced as the A's new designated hitter today at an afternoon news conference, a source confirmed to Bay Area News Group.

The A's have waited to make an official announcement because Matsui, 36, wasn't scheduled to take his physical in the Bay Area until this morning.

It's expected Matsui will sign a one-year deal in the neighborhood of the $6 million he made with the Los Angeles Angels last season.

Some concrete news did stream from A's headquarters Monday, as free-agent right-hander Brandon McCarthy agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal that includes incentives. McCarthy, 27, adds depth as the A's search for a fifth starter to round out their rotation.

But improving an anemic offense tops the A's priority list, and with Matsui, they finally found a middle-of-the-lineup caliber hitter willing to call the Coliseum home.

How much impact Matsui can make remains to be seen, as he's certainly on the downside of his career. He's hit .290 with 161 homers over eight major league seasons -- the first seven with the New York Yankees. He was 28 when he left Japan to join the Yankees.

One major league scout, who requested anonymity, said Matsui "at one time was a very good player who could do a lot of things. He's not that guy at all anymore."

But Matsui's numbers last season -- a .274 average with 21 homers and 84 RBIs -- represent a significant upgrade over anyone from Oakland's 2010 lineup.


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Just as intriguing is the impact Matsui might have on the A's poor attendance if he sparks interest among the Bay Area's Asian fan base.

A Japanese press corps of roughly 50 covered Matsui on a daily basis last year with the Angels, and about 10 Japanese reporters showed up Monday at the Coliseum in anticipation of today's announcement.

"We saw a surge (in attendance) perhaps in the first month in interest from the Asian community," said Tim Mead, the Angels vice president of communications. "He made an impact, I think, with the expansion of our brand overseas. NHK (Japan's major public broadcasting company), certainly their coverage went from Yankee blue to Angel red. You will be absolutely amazed."

McCarthy -- 20-24 with a 4.56 ERA in 110 career appearances with the White Sox and Rangers -- has been plagued with right shoulder problems. But A's assistant general manager David Forst said the team did thorough research on McCarthy and that he looked sharp in the Dominican Winter League.

He'll compete with Josh Outman, Bobby Cramer and Tyson Ross to be the fifth starter.

The A's also announced that reliever Joey Devine agreed to a one-year, $557,500 contract to avoid arbitration.

The Hideki Matsui file
Age: 36 Position: OF/DH
Bats: Left Throws: Right
2010 statistics (With Angels)
G AB H HR RBI AVG
145 482 132 21 84 .274
Career statistics
1,061 3,830 1,109 161 681 .290