PHOENIX -- The A's had a welcome gift waiting for their new designated hitter Sunday.
Hideki Matsui reported to camp and found a giant, inflatable Godzilla doll waiting at his locker inside Phoenix Municipal Stadium, a joking reference to Matsui's nickname. The doll was decked out in an A's jersey with Matsui's No. 55.
It was a good-natured gag hatched by pitcher Dallas Braden, even if it went off like a surprise party where nobody yelled "Surprise!" Matsui entered the clubhouse and was obviously stunned to see all eyes -- players, coaches, and a huge throng of reporters -- waiting to see his reaction.
It took him a few moments to see the doll, but then he broke into a big grin.
"I sensed everybody just kind of staring at me," Matsui said through his interpreter, Roger Kahlon. "It was kind of awkward. I didn't know what was going on."
Manager Bob Geren summed up the silent reaction well: "It was like a comedian who opens with his first joke and "... crickets."
The Godzilla doll was wearing the yellow jersey the A's will use as alternate home uniforms this season. That caught Matsui's eye -- his high school team wore a similar look.
"It's been 20 years since I've seen yellow uniforms like this," he said.
Matsui will take the field Monday morning for the first full-squad workout at Papago Park Baseball Complex.
Geren said he wants to avoid lining up three left-handed hitters in a row. With switch-hitter Coco Crisp leading off, Daric Barton and David DeJesus -- both lefties -- are logical candidates to hit second and third.
Josh Willingham, a right-handed hitter, could bat cleanup before the left-handed hitting Matsui.
Matsui said he has no preference for where he hits.
"I can even lead off, if that works," he quipped.