Yanks believe Damon's pain won't linger
After back issues, outfielder back in lineup for finale with O's
NEW YORK -- Along with resting their regulars whenever they see fit this season, the Yankees have enjoyed the luxury of having a quick-healing team. When players have missed time to injury, they have rarely missed many games.
So it was for Johnny Damon, who returned to the Yankees' lineup for Sunday's series finale with the Orioles after missing two games when his back "locked up" on Friday morning. Damon, who has endured back issues in the past, should miss no additional time.
"He's had this before," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "If you've ever been a back patient, these things come and go. You can't predict when you're going to get it. Sometimes, it's hard to prevent. We'll just let him play, and if it happens again, we'll sit him down."
The 35-year-old Damon, who entered Sunday's game batting .286 with 100 runs scored and a career-high 24 homers, said earlier this week that his back troubles were related to the hamstring issues that have also plagued him at times this year. But this weekend, his back was the primary culprit.
"It just kind of locked up," Girardi said. "It's a spasm that you get from time to time. It's pretty miserable when you get it, though."
Damon's brief absence underscored just how healthy the Yankees have been this season. Since losing outfielder Xavier Nady and starter Chien-Ming Wang to season-ending right arm surgeries earlier this summer, the Yankees have endured no serious injuries.
The club lost fourth outfielder Brett Gardner for several weeks due to a fractured left thumb and had a scare last week when right-handed reliever David Robertson went to visit elbow expert Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. But Gardner healed and Robertson was fine, and all the other hiccups -- injuries to Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, for example -- have been minor.
The Yankees' rotation, meanwhile, has remained in impeccable health, and the heart of their lineup has been stout. And with exactly three weeks left in the season, New York is certainly glad for that.
"We've been fortunate," Girardi said.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.