Damon hopes for chance to repeat
Eligible for free agency, veteran eyes return to Bronx
NEW YORK -- Johnny Damon's last on-field action of the season was to touch home plate at Yankee Stadium, scoring on a two-run Hideki Matsui single in the third inning of Game 6 of the World Series.
That's not a bad way to go out, but Damon is hoping it doesn't mark his final movement in a Yankees uniform. The 35-year-old outfielder is expected to file for free agency soon, but he continues to make it known he would love to keep playing in New York.
"Obviously, I'm going to have a lot of options," Damon said. "I think what it comes down to is what kind of option the Yankees want to give me, or not give me. Why wouldn't I want to come back?
"We have the best owners in baseball and the best team. We have the most revenue and the biggest payroll. Who wouldn't want to be part of the Yankee tradition? I would like to continue mine, and I feel like I could come back and do a great job again."
Damon hit .282 with 24 home runs and 82 RBIs in 143 games for the Yankees this season, helping the Bombers win the American League East before logging 18 hits in 64 postseason at-bats, including a hard-fought single that prefaced his epic double steal in Game 4 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park.
Damon left the clinching Game 6 early with a calf injury that probably would have cost him a week during the regular season. He watched the final outs from the bench, but the Bombers still have Damon's legs to thank.
After all, without his dash to steal an uncovered third base, perhaps the Yankees would not have been riding on parade floats down the Canyon of Heroes on Friday morning, showered in confetti and the adoration of more than one million New Yorkers.
"I am so overjoyed, because you don't know how many times you get this opportunity," Damon said. "To be in a ticker-tape parade in New York City, it's amazing. I've got the experience of winning in two great cities, and people here are doing it right also."
With Scott Boras as his agent, Damon may be going against the company playbook by outright voicing his desire to play for one particular team.
No matter: Damon has found a home in the Yankees' clubhouse, and he said that it crossed his mind during the parade that this is the last time he will be together with all his current teammates.
"I think I probably think about it more than a lot of other guys, because I know," Damon said. "I know how teams change quite a bit during the offseason.
"This team was good enough to win the whole thing, and that's the memory that I'm always going to take with me. We're champions. You can't take that away. It's going to be that way for history, and I'm happy about it."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.