One of the key components during the Colorado Rockies' 2007 Rocktober run was second baseman Kazuo Matsui. Matsui, who left the Rockies after 2007, has returned to Japan and will play for the Rakuten Eagles of the Pacific League in Nippon Professional Baseball.
Matsui arrived in Denver in 2006 after the Rockies acquired him in exchange for utility player Eli Marrero. He originally started out at Triple-A Colorado Springs before receiving a promotion to the majors for the final month and a half of the season. In 2007, Matsui, a switch-hitter, batted .288/.342/.405 with 32 stolen bases as part of the team made that magical Rocktober run.
He should be best remembered by Rockies fans for his fourth-inning grand slam off of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kyle Lohse in Game 2 of the 2007 National League Division Series, which the Rockies won, 10-5. He had only four home runs during the regular season.
After leaving for Houston during the 2007 offseason, Matsui made his way back into the Rockies' organization in 2010 as a member once again of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. At 35-years-old, Matsui will look to find his baseball acumen back home in Japan.