Damon downplays trade talk
Not in Wednesday's lineup, outfielder ponders future in NY
NEW YORK -- Johnny Damon wasn't pleased when he saw a lineup card without his name in it on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium, warning off reporters with a playful "no comment" before any question could be asked.
Damon had plenty to say prior to the Yankees' 8-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox, according to a Newsday report, though he would later downplay his quotes as a misunderstanding with manager Joe Torre regarding his day off.
"Unfortunately, Joe just couldn't get to me and let me know what his thoughts were," Damon said before the game. "I understand this game of baseball. We're not going to reinvent it overnight."
With Shelley Duncan in the lineup as the Yankees' designated hitter, Melky Cabrera having long secured center field and Jason Giambi expected to rehab at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beginning Friday, Damon reportedly suggested to the newspaper that the Yankees could explore trading the 33-year-old if he no longer fits into their plans.
"I wouldn't say I would like it," Damon told Newsday. "I signed here to win a World Series, but I've always been a guy, if you're not wanted in a place 100 percent, why stop the team from making something work?"
After the game, Damon was asked to clarify his comments and insisted that he does not feel the Yankees should look into trading him, saying that "I really like what this team is and how we're improving and how we're playing very well."
Damon suggested that other clubs may have been interested in acquiring him before Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline, but acknowledged that it would be more difficult to finalize a trade now that the date has passed.
"I think it's totally whatever the team thinks is best for the team," Damon said. "That's what the Yankees always do. If it means moving me to make room for Jason, I can't control that. I'm going to keep going out there and playing hard and trying to help this team win."
Damon is in the second year of a four-year, $52 million contract, which includes a partial no-trade clause -- he cannot be dealt to all but 12 teams without his consent. Damon is batting .251 with six home runs, 39 RBIs and a team-leading 19 stolen bases in 94 games.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.