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Damon looking around as Yankees' interest wanes

Johnny Damon said he is close to a

Johnny Damon said he is close to a deal with Cleveland. Credit: John Dunn

It wasn't news to Brian Cashman that Johnny Damon might start to look elsewhere.

Damon's agent, Scott Boras, told the Yankees general manager as much in recent weeks.

"Scott has told me the teams he's talking to," Cashman said Wednesday.

But beyond that, Cashman didn't have much more to say about the possibility of re-signing the 36-year-old outfielder, though the prospect of the Yankees doing so seems to be diminishing.

Even with Hideki Matsui signing with the Angels, there are no indications the Yankees are going to budge from anything more than a two-year offer - Boras wants a three- or four-year contract - that would include a pay cut from the $13 million Damon made last season.

Should Damon end up elsewhere - the Nationals and Giants could be interested, though it's not clear either team would offer a three- or four-year deal for big money - the Yankees could use the DH spot to rest veterans like Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher saw some time at DH last season as well.

While the Yankees poked around Mike Cameron, who signed with the Red Sox, and remain interested in Mark DeRosa, they are also intrigued with one of their minor leaguers, 26-year-old Juan Miranda, as a DH candidate.

The 6-foot, 220-pound Miranda, a lefthanded hitter who hit one of the longest home runs in the history of Tropicana Field on Oct. 2, batted .290 with 19 homers and 82 RBIs last season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before he was called up in September.

"We think the guy can hit," senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said this week. "He's got very good power. And he walks, he has some plate discipline . . . There's a lot to like. We'll see. He's got to do it on the big stage. But so far he's done what we expect."

Said Cashman: "He's a guy we signed because we thought he could give us quality at-bats in the majors. How much of that opportunity is this year depends on how our winter plays out."

Matsui's an Angel. The Angels announced the signing of Matsui to a one-year, $6-million contract. "On Sunday, during a meeting with team officials at my home, manager Mike Scioscia offered Hideki the chance to show that he can still play the field," Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem, wrote on the Huffington Post yesterday. "Hideki is a longtime fan of Scioscia, and the lunch cemented his desire to play for him. Scioscia's current plan is to have Hideki test his knees and mobility in spring training. Ideally, Hideki would start in left at least once or twice a week. The rest of the time, he'd DH."

Tellem wrote that once it became apparent the Yankees had other priorities, Matsui's first choices were the Angels or Red Sox but with David Ortiz, "the Red Sox were never a real option."

Granderson's day. The Yankees will officially introduce Curtis Granderson at a news conference this morning at the Stadium.

New York Sports