Damon hopes to hit off tee Friday, return to Yanks next week

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon could hit off a tee on Friday and hopes to rejoin the team by late next week.

Damon is on the 15-day disabled list with an injured left shoulder, which was hurt when the outfielder ran into the fence attempting to catch a ball on July 4. He underwent treatment only Wednesday at the Yankees' minor league complex.

"Friday could be a big day," Damon said. "It feels a lot better today. It feels much better not doing the drills."

Damon, who is hitting .319, is on the DL for the first time in his career. He was first scheduled to hit off a tee Monday, but that was moved back because of shoulder soreness.

Left fielder-designated hitter Hideki Matsui ended his rehab program for a sore left knee in Florida on Wednesday to return to New York to be examined Friday. It's possible Matsui will need season-ending surgery.

"Honestly, I don't know what to anticipate at this point," Matsui said through a translator.

Matsui took batting practice on Saturday and Sunday, but was shut down Tuesday due to swelling in the knee.

"To a certain extent, I'm a little disappointed by how things have progressed," Matsui said. "But I'm still hopeful that I can make it back this season. I believe in that."

Matsui has been out since June 22.


RHP Phil Hughes (broken rib) threw his third bullpen session. ... Free agent RHP Victor Zambrano continues working out at the Yankees' complex and had his second bullpen session.