Yankees won't pursue Johnny Damon

Updated: February 26, 2013, 7:42 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Forget about a Johnny Damon, Part II, happening in the Bronx this year.

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman put a pretty definitive "No" on the idea that Damon could serve as a short-term replacement for the injured Curtis Granderson on Tuesday, saying, "It's just not something we're going to pursue."

Damon lobbied for the job on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show" on Monday, offering to play for the minimum major league salary.

"Have me for six weeks and send me on my merry way," Damon said.

But Cashman dropped the hammer on that idea after the Yankees lost to the Phillies 4-3 on Tuesday afternoon.

He's just not going to fit our needs. It's the same reason we didn't bring him in last year. We need somebody who can play the outfield every day.

-- Yankees GM Brian Cashman

"He's just not going to fit our needs," Cashman said. "It's the same reason we didn't bring him in last year. We need somebody who can play the outfield every day."

Cashman repeated he would try to fill the vacancy from within the organization, with veterans Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera and possibly one of the kids: Melky Mesa, Zoilo Almonte, Ronnier Mustelier or Adonis Garcia.

"We're going to evaluate what we have in camp," Cashman said. "I'm not looking outside at this stage. My first response, always, to a loss, is to make sure we don't have what we need right here in front of us."

Cashman said he had not been contacted by Damon, but had received a text from Scott Boras inquiring about the Yankees' interest, if any, in his client.

"I responded to him the same way I responded to you guys," Cashman said.

Damon came to the Yankees in 2006 after having been a member of a Boston Red Sox team that overcame an 0-3 deficit in the 2004 ALCS and went on to win its first World Series in 86 years.

Damon, 39, batted .285 with 77 home runs in four seasons as a Yankee and his .364 batting average in the 2009 World Series was instrumental in the Yankees winning their 27th world championship.

But he and the Yankees parted ways that offseason. In the ensuing three seasons, Damon's batting average declined from .271 with the Detroit Tigers in 2010 to .261 with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 to .222 with the Cleveland Indians, who released him midway through the 2012 season. He has been a part-time outfielder since 2009.

"Listen, I love Johnny Damon," Cashman said. "He was a great Yankee, has a World Series ring to show for it, and it was a good marriage while we had it. But that was a while ago."

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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