"The reason I decided to go to the Unites States was to try and become a world champion with the Yankees," Matsui told the Kyodo News. "I fear chasing two goals might get in the way of that dream."
Matsui is the third high profile Yankee to bow out of the WBC, joining Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada. Three other Yankees, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Bernie Williams, have agreed to play in the 16-nation series.
Matsui, 31, batted a career-best .305 with 23 homers and a career-high 116 RBI this past season. He has never missed a game since entering the majors in 2003.
Matsui set career-highs in hits (192) and doubles (45) in 2005. For his first three years in the league, he has 70 homers and 330 RBI to go along with a .297 batting average.