Thursday, March 16, 2006

$12 million of KARMA coming back to bite you in the shoulder

Damon Has Tendinitis in Left Shoulder

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 15, 2006; 2:30 PM

TAMPA, Fla. -- Johnny Damon has tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, and the New York Yankees star will not be available to play the outfield for the United States on Thursday night against Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

The Yankees sent Damon to be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum in California on Tuesday, and the speedy leadoff man was cleared to pinch-run for the U.S. squad if needed. Whether Damon can hit will be determined before Thursday's game, but he will not play in the field.

"I spoke to Johnny yesterday," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday. "He's not worried. He just needs to get it calmed down, so that's why he's not a defensive player for them right now."

Damon had an MRI exam. His sore left shoulder is the same one that hindered him late last year with Boston and weakened an already inferior throwing arm.

Cashman said the injury flared up while New York's biggest acquisition of the offseason was working out with the U.S. team.

"It happened there," Cashman said. "Right now, he's OK to stay out there and try and help the U.S. team obviously in a limited way now."

There is no timetable for when Damon will resume defensive drills. Cashman plans to speak with Yocum again before Thursday's WBC game.

"I don't have a final report yet. I'll have one before Thursday's game," Cashman said.

Cashman said right now he's not worried about Damon's status for opening day.

"This is something that should calm down and should be able to get out of the way in time for our season to start based on what I have been told by Dr. Yocum," Cashman said.

Damon, who signed a $52 million, four-year contract with the Yankees during the offseason, has played in four of the Americans' five games in the inaugural WBC, going 1-for-7. He sat out Monday night's 7-3 loss to South Korea and was a pinch-hitter in Sunday's 4-3 victory over Japan.

His ailment is exactly the kind of issue New York owner George Steinbrenner was referring to when he spoke out against the Classic.

"I'm not concerned about him based on the fact he pinch-hit the other day, plus the fact Cash talked to him," Torre said, referring to Damon. "Hopefully, it appears to be in the spring training-type feeling.

"To me, Johnny knows what's important. They want to win there, but he knows that he has to get himself right to help whichever club he's playing for. He knows that they're playing the Classic, but it's still a time when you get yourself in shape and you have to look out for yourself."

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