With outfielder Curtis Granderson out the next 10 weeks with a broken right forearm, the New York Yankees may bring back an ex-foe who became a fan favorite when he wore the pinstripes. According to reports, Johnny Damon would be interested in returning to the Yankees if the team made the call to him. However, other reports suggest a deal between the lefty-hitting designated hitter and outfielder may not be happening anytime soon.
Damon played for the Yankees from 2006-2009 and was very productive offensively for the team. He hit for a .285 average over his four seasons in New York, belting 77 home runs with 296 RBI. He was also a speed demon for the Yankees, stealing 93 bases and scoring 410 runs.
Before joining the Yankees, Damon spent four seasons with the hated Boston Red Sox. A two-time All-Star during his time with the Red Sox, Damon hit .295 in his four years in Boston, with 56 home runs and 299 RBI. He also stole 98 bases and scored 461 runs. Damon began his career playing for the Kansas City Royals for six seasons and then the Oakland Athletics in 2001 before joining the Red Sox. He had the best season of his career as a member of the Royals in 200o, when he hit for a career high .327 average and set career highs with 136 runs and 46 stolen bases. Both totals also led the American League that season.
Since he’s time with the Yankees, Damon has suited up for the Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians. After productive seasons with the Tigers and Rays from 2010-2011 when he hit .266 with 24 home runs and 30 stolen bases, he slipped dramatically with the Indians last season. In just 64 games played, he hit for a career worst .222 average. He is currently 231 hits away from the 3,000 hit plateau.
Before the Yankees consider bringing in Damon, they will look to fill Granderson’s void from within the organization. They signed both Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz in the offseason to battle for the fourth outfielder role and right-handed DH spot in Spring Training. The team may elect to bring both men on board for Opening Day. If they elect to bring one of their minor league outfielders to fill the void, they could go with either Zolio Almonte or Ronnier Mustelier, who have impressed so far through the Yankees first three spring games. Almonte had a two-run home run and threw out a runner in the Yankees opener against the Atlanta Braves while Mustelier had a hit in three at-bats against the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday. Mustelier, a 27 year-old from Cuba, has hit .324 in his two seasons in the Yankees minor league system playing in every level.