The Yankees didn’t need any reminders of what Johnny Damon was capable of with a bat in his hands, but they got one anyway on Monday when he took Sergio Mitre out to right field in the fifth inning.
It was a solo blast and not even necessarily the play of the game in the Yankees’ 5-4 loss to the Tigers, but it hurt nonetheless. After watching Damon succeed wearing other uniforms and then for four years in pinstripes, they’re back to watching him win games for other teams.
“I’m always trying to beat the other team,” Damon said. “Old teammates or whatnot, I’m just proud of our guys. Our bullpen is our glue on this team right now. We played solid baseball against a team that was ready, even though they got in at 4 a.m. They know how to get ready for a ballgame and they just about pulled this one off tonight.”
Yep, if Derek Jeter’s drive to right field drops in front of Magglio Ordonez instead of landing in his glove on a sliding catch, who knows? Maybe the Yankees and Tigers are still playing right now. And the Yankees had a pretty good idea who was wearing the biggest grin in the third-base clubhouse.
“Johnny likes playing in games like this,” Jeter said. “I’m sure he’s feeling pretty good on the other side. We’ve seen him do it against us before and we’ve seen him do it for us. It’s really not surprising.”