Ex-Major Leaguer Matsui cheers up children in quake-hit Ishikawa

Former Major League Baseball slugger Matsui Hideki has demonstrated his batting skills for children in the central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa, which was severely affected by the New Year's Day earthquake.

The event was held in Matsui's hometown of Nomi City on Sunday, which is Children's Day in Japan. Matsui, who played for the New York Yankees and other US teams, hit 175 homers during his 10-year MLB career.

About 140 children were shown how to hold a bat by Matsui. They cheered when he hit a ball that went over the outfield fence.

A 4-year-old boy said he was happy to receive a bat and ball as gifts.

His mother said her parents' house was destroyed by the quake, and she was glad to see smiles on the children's faces.

Matsui says it was great to see children enjoying themselves and he hopes the event gave them energy.