On-Base Perception

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Johnny Damon interested in rejoining Yankees

Johnny Damon prepares for an at-bat during a

Johnny Damon prepares for an at-bat during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. (Credit: AP, 2009)

Now that the Yankees will be without Curtis Granderson for 10 weeks, they're going to have to find a suitable replacement. But speed, defensive ability and power are tough to come by from one player. Could aging former Yankee Johnny Damon be that guy?

Damon seems to think so.

“Losing Curtis Granderson is definitely a tough thing to swallow, but with the way I hit at Yankee Stadium and the right-field porch — it worked when I played for them," Damon said in an interview on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York.

Damon hasn't officially retired, and he said he won't anytime soon. But Damon said the Yankees haven't shown an interest in him.

“You guys know that I would have tons of interest to go to New York, but I just don’t think they would be interested," he told ESPN. "I’m not exactly sure what happened over the years, but they’ve had plenty of opportunities, and I kept raising my hand wanting to go back, and hopefully it would be a perfect fit."

Damon spent four seasons with the Yankees from 2006-2009, capping his career in New York with a World Series victory. In that final season with the Yankees, the outfielder hit .282 with 24 home runs, 82 RBIs and 107 runs. But he was only 35 at the time.

After the Yankees let Damon walk in 2009, they had another opportunity to sign him last season but opted to go with Raul Ibanez instead. That move panned out. Ibanez hit .240 with 19 home runs and 62 RBIs for the Yankees in the regular season, and he was the hero for the Bombers in the American League Division Series when he hit a game-tying and game-winning home run in Game 3 to keep the Yanks alive.

But the Yankees didn't re-sign Ibanez, who ended up landing a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners.

Earlier in his career, Damon fit the same lefthanded power-hitting mold that Ibanez falls into. Last season, though, the former All-Star took a dip. He hit .222 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in only 64 games for the Cleveland Indians. Despite that, Damon is confident he could come back and make an impact if he had three to four weeks to get game-ready.

“I think last year with just that big rush with Cleveland, getting all my stuff packed for six months in a matter of a day and then going off to Arizona for two weeks ... it was really difficult," Damon said.

At 39 years old, Damon said he's not concerned about money, and he understands that there may not be room for him once Granderson returns in May.

"I’m not going to hold any team hostage," he said. "If they want me they want me, if they don’t, I’ll walk and maybe try to pick up somewhere else.

"I just want to play. You can give me the minimum, that’s all I care about — that chance to be in the big leagues."

Tags: Johnny Damon , Yankees

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