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Johnny Damon says Yankees' 2009 title diminished if A-Rod was on PEDs

Johnny Damon, right, is congratulated by Alex Rodriguez

Johnny Damon, right, is congratulated by Alex Rodriguez after Damon hit a two-run home run during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship against the Los Angeles Angels. Credit: AP, 2009

CHICAGO -- Add Johnny Damon to the cast of characters in the Alex Rodriguez drama, although in a very minor role.

The former Yankee outfielder appeared on SiriusXM Radio Wednesday afternoon and was asked if the 2009 World Series title had been "diminished" because of Rodriguez's involvement with PEDs.

"Well, I haven't really gotten to think that far, but if that's how he was able to hit in the postseason, like he did that year, then yeah, absolutely," Damon said. "I mean, then you start saying, 'Well was anybody on their team cheating?' There's just so many different factors that determine if a team wins, and A-Rod was a huge determining factor."

Rodriguez carried the albatross of past postseason failures into the 2009 playoffs, but he shined. At one point he drove in a run in eight straight playoff games and batted .365 (19-for-52) with six homers and 18 RBIs.

Rodriguez didn't offer much in the way of reaction.

"I have nothing to do with any of that stuff," Rodriguez said. "I'm just going to let all that stuff rest. I do love Johnny. He's my good friend . . . I haven't talked to Johnny in a long time so no disappointment whatsoever."

Joe Girardi also steered clear.

"I don't really have a comment on it," Girardi said. "There's always going to be speculation about other teams that have won World Series, about whether a player was on [PEDs] or not and how much a club benefited from it. I don't really get too caught up in it."

One of those teams, in fact, is Damon's 2004 Red Sox team, which included Manny Ramirez, who twice was suspended in his career for testing positive for banned substances.

Romine starts again

Austin Romine, who gets sporadic playing time as Chris Stewart's backup, has made the most of his chances and is getting rewarded, starting a second straight game last night.

"He's been swinging the bat pretty good and I might give him a little bit more playing time here and there," Girardi said.

Romine entered Wednesday Depth issues

General manager Brian Cashman indicated that RHP David Phelps (forearm), RHP Michael Pineda (shoulder) and LHP Vidal Nuño (groin) all were unlikely to be available the rest of the season should a need arise.

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