This could be a tough post for the W.H.J.D.C.
That would be the “We Hate Johnny Damon Club” of course.
The Unfrozen Caveman Designated Hitter is starting to get his mojo back. Damon has hit safely in nine of the last 10 games he has played in (16 of 43, .372) with 13 runs scored, 11 RBI and seven extra-base hits.
Obviously that’s only a small number of games. But if you watch him swing, he’s turning into the ball and using his hips to put some power into his cuts. The changes he has made in his footwork have given him a solid base. He’s not coming off the ball like he was before.
Damon is not going to have a Damon season. But he could be a huge factor down the stretch.
A roster that includes Damon, Jason Giambi, Wilson Betemit and Shelley Duncan will give Joe Torre ample opportunity to use Hideki Matsui, Alex Rodriguez, Bobby Abreu and even Derek Jeter days off or days as the DH from time to time.
Remember, the Yankees have six more games against the Royals, six more against the Devil Rays and 10 more against the Blue Jays. Occasional days of rest will help the regulars.
Torre also has a roster that he can manipulate against certain pitchers based on the matchup numbers. Until recently, his bench was Wil Nieves, Miguel Cairo, Kevin Thompson and their ilk.
Now there’s power, speed and versatility. In two weeks, here is the roster you could see:
Infielders (7): Jeter, Rodriguez, Cano, Phillips, Giambi, Duncan, Betemit
Catchers (2): Posada, Molina
Outfielders (4): Abreu, Cabrera, Matsui, Damon.
Starters (5): Wang, Pettitte, Clemens, Mussina, Hughes.
Bullpen (7): Rivera, Vizcaino, Chamberlain, Farnsworth, Myers, Villone, Ramirez.
There’s not much room for Cairo. But he could always pull an oblique. Doug Mientkiewicz is still a few weeks off. By then, a need could arise.
At least now the Yankees are dealing from a position where they have choices to make. They’re not settling for what they have.