The question of what to do with Johnny Damon doesn’t have an easy solution. But playing him in left field once in a while seems to make sense.
Damon has played 11 games in left field and his splits are .435/.509/.630. He’s 20 of 55 with seven extra-base hits and 13 RBI.
Playing Damon in left means Hideki Matsui is the DH. That is not such a bad idea, either. He’s .308/.329/.600 in 16 games as a DH compared to .298/.375/.501 as a left fielder.
The sample sizes are small, but it’s all we have to go on.
Meanwhile, here is a breakdown of the three primary DHs since Aug. 7, the day Jason Giambi was activated:
Giambi (9 games, 6 starts): .373/.357/.815 – 9 of 27, 4 HR, 5 RBI
Damon (8 games, 7 starts): .370/.438/.556 – 10 of 27, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Duncan (7 games, 2 starts): .308/.357/.538 – 4 of 13, 1 HR, 3 RBI
These statistics suggest that Joe Torre is not the rockhead some would have you believe. Damon and Giambi have had the same amount of playing time and it has been very productive playing time. Duncan has been mixed in with good results.
The Yankees have played 12 games since Giambi has been activated. Those three players are 23 of 67 (.343) with six homers and 12 RBI.
This is where having Torre as a manager makes all the difference. Damon and Giambi are accomplished, highly paid, All-Star players who believe they should be in the lineup every day.
They can’t be. But Torre is getting the most out of them. That’s not an easy thing to pull off.