also known as Daniel Matsumoto
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 10", Weight 181 lb.
Yuichi Matsumoto has been one of the most successful Japanese-Brazilian baseball players, following Shigeo Tamaki.
Matsumoto was signed by the Yakult Swallows in 1999. He played for the Brazilian national team in the 1999 Pan American Games. In 2002, he made his debut in NPB, hitting .250/.333/.292 in 10 games for Yakult. Matsumoto was Brazil's top star in the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, hitting .450/.522/.950. In five games, he had two doubles, a triple, two home runs and three stolen bases in three tries. He had six of Brazil's 15 RBI. He tied Eduardo Paret and Guillermo Reyes for the most stolen bases in the tournament, though both played more games as Matsumoto's Brazil was eliminated after one round. Matsumoto was honored by being named to the Cup All-Star team, joining Katsuaki Furuki and Jin-young Lee in the outfield, beating out former major leaguers like Hensley Meulens and Roberto Kelly as well as Cuban stars such as Frederich Cepeda.
Matsumoto saw a little time with Yakult in 2003 in Japanese Baseball, going 4 for 14 with a double in 12 games, primarily as a pinch-hitter. In 2004, he became a Japanese citizen and changed his name from Daniel Matsumoto to Yuichi (or Yuuichi). This way, he did not count as one of Yakult's gaijin under the foreign player limits. He hit .393/.393/.429 in 28 AB for the Swallows in 2004.
In 2005, Matsumoto was one of Yakult's main bench players. He backed up Ken Suzuki and Adam Riggs at 1B and Ryuji Miyade and Mitsuru Manaka in right field. He also pinch-hit regularly, getting into 75 games. He produced at a .241/.295/.328 clip in 151 plate appearances. 2006 was a rough year - Matsumoto was just 0-for-3 for Yakult and undergoing surgery.
Matsumoto bounced back in 2007, hitting .340/.352/.485 in 33 games while battling injury. He easily outperformed the other Yakult first basemen, Miyade and Riggs. Matsumoto slumped to .254/.303/.306 in a backup role in 2008, pinch-hitting frequently.
On June 14, 2009, Matsumoto had a chance to set a new NPB record for consecutive hits by a team; Yakult had tied the old mark of 10 in a row (one by Matsumoto) but the club pinch-hit for Yuichi with Yasushi Iihara, who wound up with the record-breaking hit.