Sure sounds like it when you read in between the lines. From the Daily News -
“What Johnny [Damon] is giving us right now is really important,” Torre said. “At the top of the order, his bat is coming alive, his legs are feeling good and his stolen base percentage is terrific.”
Damon’s 19 runs this month rank third on the team behind Hideki Matsui (24) and Alex Rodriguez (22), who leads the majors with 95 on the season. Damon, who has stolen 18 bases in 20 attempts this season, leads the Yankees in July with five thefts.
Despite his low batting average, Damon believes his ability to get on base and score are the most important aspects of his job. His team-leading 19 walks this month indicate that, even when he has slumped, he’s still been able to help the Yanks go.
“Batting average has never won games,” Damon said. “Scoring runs and driving them in do.”
Throughout the course of the season, Damon has been forced to deal with nagging injuries. Those issues have left him day-to-day in terms of being in the lineup, but Jason Giambi’s injury allowed Torre to utilize Damon as the designated hitter and put Melky Cabrera, the superior fielder, in center, two moves that have benefited the Yankees.
With Giambi due back in the coming weeks, Torre will have to balance the playing time for all of them, but it would be difficult to take Cabrera out of center field.
“When it gets closer, we’ll figure it out,” Torre said.
“Hopefully I’ll get more playing time and stay in the lineup; we’ll just have to ride it out,” Damon said. “I think we have a good mix now. Whatever Joe decides to put out there, we’re deeper on our bench and a lot more players are fresh.”
Matsui, Damon, Abreu and Giambi are all going to play – money talks, after all. That means either Phillips or Cabrera have to sit. And, since Joe won’t play Giambi at first, it’s looking like bad news for Melky when Giambi comes back to full-time duty.
Shame, Cabrera deserves to start – based on his performance over the last three months.
Maybe it’s time to reconsider the Damon to first base move? Keep Phillips for late inning defense and for when you want to sit Abreu against a nasty lefty. Nah, it makes too much sense.