Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Johnny On The Spot

Johnny Damon, the new left fielder for the New York Yankees, put his team ahead with a two-run homerun in the seventh inning last night, the blast turned out to be the game winner.

For most of this season Damon looked like a shell of his former self. With injuries running rampant within the Yankees organization Johnny was no exception.

His legs were gone and they were his bread and butter. Without them he could not run, he could not hit, and he was horrible in the field. He needed a rest, but with his team struggling they needed him more so with Jason Giambi out Damon took on the role of DH.

Spending time as the DH gave Damon time to rest his legs and still stay in the lineup, but his replacement in the field, Melky Cabrera, made things interesting for him and the Bombers.

Melky got the everyday job in centerfield and was able to convince everyone that he belonged there and would not be surrendering it anytime soon. He simply did what Damon could not do, flash some leather and some legs while playing stellar defense, and as an everyday player for the first time his offense flourished.

"You have to tip your hat to a guy like Melky for stepping up," Damon said to the NY Post.

With Giambi’s injured foot there wasn’t much of a problem, Johnny could DH and give his legs a rest and would still play, but with Giambi’s return looming Damon feared he would become a bench player and actually pondered being traded out of town.

"Yeah, I do wonder," he said to the Post. "We'll just have to see how everything plays out.

Since Giambi’s return however Damon has done a great job forcing his way into the lineup. With his legs totally healed he could play in left field which would give the Yanks exceptional range on the left side of the outfield.

His offense would also improve as shown by his .856 OPS since the All-Star break. Not to mention the fact that he is batting .435 while playing as a left fielder. Maybe that is something of a coincidence because he is hitting everything right now batting .333 in the month of August.

Last night everything came to a head against his former team the Boston Red Sox. With Damon in the lineup in left field he made three spectacular catches and also went 2-4 at the plate scoring 2 runs and driving in another 2.

With that kind of performance Hideki Matsui will see a lot more time as the designated hitter than he expected.

Checkout the Hot Stove for more NY sports.

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