With Yankees slugger Curtis Granderson expected to be out of commission until May after a first inning beaning Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, can an old reliable ballplayer be called upon to help fill a glaring hole?
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that if called upon, free agent outfielder and former Yankee Johnny Damon would jump at the opportunity to help alleviate the stress of Granderson's absence,
“I don't expect to hear from them," Damon told the Daily News by telephone. "If they call, if they want me, I'll go. They are one of the only teams I would do that for. We'll see what happens in the future. If someone calls, I could definitely get ready."
While Damon surely isn't the player that the Yankees signed before the 2006 season as a free agent, let's just say that compared to the current in-house candidates, Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera, Damon on a low-cost deal could make sense as a temporary stopgap.
"I can still hit," Damon said. "I still know I'm better than 70-80 percent of the guys out there. I know if I played every day, I'd be really good."
In the same article, Damon states that he is in shape, and to ascertain proper baseball shape, he'd only need roughly three weeks.
While Damon's past season, an abbreviated stop with the Cleveland Indians, was one to forget, the 39-year-old left-hander had a mostly successful four-year stint in pinstripes, culminating with a World Series ring in his final season in 2009.
Of course, heady base-running and discipline at the plate are how Yankees fans best remember Damon's time in the Bronx. However, declining defense is also remembered, and if this were to come to fruition, Brett Gardner would be easily bumped over to center field, as Damon would take over in left field until Granderson was deemed healthy enough to return.
While this is very speculative at this point, and it's hard to imagine this coming together, it is the Yankees and nothing is ever off the table. No, Damon would not be able to nor expected to replicate the home run propensity of Granderson; however, the Yankees would be getting a smart veteran, one who is familiar with the intricacies of the Bronx.
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