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Posted 6/12/12 at 5:40 PM

Birthday boy Hideki Matsui receives cake, starting lineup spot

For 20 years, the contingent of Japanese media assigned to cover Hideki Matsui has presented the slugger with a cake on his birthday.

Tuesday was no different as the former World Series MVP celebrated his 38th birthday before Tampa Bay's series opener against the Mets.

The cake -- which featured a Rays hat and a baseball sitting on a ballfield made of icing -- later appeared in the Tropicana Field pressbox with a sign reading: "Hideki's birthday cake. Let's try!! From Japanese Media."

In addition to the cake, Matsui received a birthday greeting from 81-year-old Don Zimmer and a slot in the starting lineup courtesy of Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Tweeted the skipper:

-- J.B. Long

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