Johnny Damon makes pitch to Yanks
Speaking on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's Michael Kay Show, Damon said he is willing to play just the five or so weeks of the regular season that Granderson will miss and he even would take a league-minimum contract to return to the Bronx.
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. I'm not exactly sure what happened over the years or something. They have had plenty of opportunities and I kept raising my hand, wanting to go back and, you know, hopefully it would be a perfect fit. It always had been. Have me for six weeks and then send me off on my merry way. That's fine.” -- Johnny Damon on return to Yankees
"You guys know that I would have tons of interest to go to New York," Damon told Kay and co-host Don LaGreca. "But I just don't think they would be interested. I'm not exactly sure what happened over the years or something. They have had plenty of opportunities and I kept raising my hand, wanting to go back and, you know, hopefully it would be a perfect fit. It always had been. Have me for six weeks and then send me off on my merry way. That's fine."
Damon, 39, played four seasons with the Yankees, which included 2009, his final year with the team, when the franchise won its last championship. He was not re-signed after his agent, Scott Boras, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman disagreed over terms of a new deal. Damon has bounced to three different teams in the past three years.
The Yankees considered signing Damon before the 2012 season but instead opted for Raul Ibanez as their designated hitter. Damon ended up signing with the Cleveland Indians in April and didn't appear in a regular-season game until May.
Damon said he doesn't plan on picking up the phone and calling Cashman.
"I know how the New York media works," Damon said. "I'm talking to you so I'm sure he'll hear about it tomorrow."
Reached by text shortly after the interview, Cashman didn't entirely rule out the possibility, writing that, "not at the moment" does he have interest in Damon. He added the team plans to "look at what we have."
With Granderson out, Brett Gardner will play center field and Ichiro Suzuki will be in right. The two leading candidates for left are Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera. The Yankees' top outfield prospects are not ready for the big leagues.
In 2012, Damon hit just .222 in 64 games for the Indians. Cleveland released him in August. Still, he remains confident he could fill in for Granderson.
"Absolutely," Damon said. "Losing a Curtis Granderson is a tough thing to swallow, but the way I hit at Yankee Stadium and the right field porch, I mean, it worked when I played for them. We'll just keep doing what we are doing, staying in shape, continuing playing soccer, continue to live my life. If they want to see what I can do, then I'll definitely be interested.
"I hope they have interest but it seems like they haven't the past couple of years. I don't know why things would change now."
Damon said it would take him three or four weeks to prepare for the season, meaning the Yankees would have to sign him in the next week or so to be in shape for Opening Day. If the Yankees were interested, Damon said money will not be a factor.
"I just want to play," Damon said.
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