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Yankees DH search seems limited to Ibanez

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Brian Cashman never said Raul Ibanez’s name this morning, but he seemed to eliminate every other candidate from his search for a designated hitter.

“The preference would be to find someone from the left side that can do some damage against right-handed pitching,” Cashman said. “But at the same time, in the event we have injuries that hit in season, (I’m looking for a player) that my manager could put out for defense. I’m not saying a quality defender, I’m saying someone that, for an extended period of time, can still provide some kind of defensive component to protect us in the event we have injuries as we move forward. That would be the criteria we’re looking at.”

The Yankees stopped seeing Hideki Matsui as a viable defensive player years ago, and Vladimir Guerrero is a right-handed hitter, not a lefty. Johnny Damon would seem to fit the profile, but Cashman acknowledged that he’s already told Damon that there’s another candidate at the top of the list.

“I’m going to look at something else first and see where that takes me,” Cashman said, relaying his conversation with Damon. “And if that doesn’t work out, I’ll get back to you.”

Eric Chavez  is a left-handed hitter who can provide a defensive component, but Cashman said he doesn’t consider Chavez to be part of the DH market. Cashman would like to bring back Chavez in a bench capacity, but as of right now, he doesn’t view Chavez as a regular DH candidate.

“I guess it depends on how my conversations go with the DH candidates, where they go,” Cashman said. “Going into this right now, he’s not (a DH candidate), but could it work out that way if we signed him and didn’t do something else? It could. That’s not how we’re approaching this thing. I also don’t want to mislead anybody, there’s a possibility Chavez isn’t even here. I just don’t want this to make it look like, ‘I’m signing him, don’t worry, it’s going to happen, guys.'”

“I’d like to see him come back for us, (and) I’d like to get a left-handed DH here to complement what we have on our roster and give our manager a number of choices that make him feel comfortable matching up on a daily basis. But we’re not in a position yet to do any of that. All in due time this stuff will be working its way through.”