08/22/09 8:50 PM ET
Damon expects to play Sunday
Outfielder recovering from bruised right knee in opener
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
He didn't even dress until Jose Molina was already making his first Major League appearance at third base, figuring by that point in the Yankees' 14-1 loss that anything was possible.
But Damon said he is now more optimistic and expects to be back in the lineup on Sunday, as the Yankees try to win the series behind starter CC Sabathia.
"Being a night game definitely helps, so I expect to be in there," Damon said. "We got some pretty good treatment. The swelling seems to be going down and the bruising seems to be dissipating."
Damon was struck on the side of the leg by a fouled-off Brad Penny offering in the first inning on Friday, striking out looking before being replaced in left field by Eric Hinske.
He was not sent for further tests and is considered day-to-day, but said that he did not attempt to run on Saturday, only stretching lightly.
"We'll see how he is [Sunday]," manager Joe Girardi said. "He had treatment a couple of times today. He's walking fine, but running is a different animal."
One other choice would be resting Damon on Sunday and then allowing him to also take advantage of the Bombers' scheduled off-day Monday before opening a homestand on Tuesday against the Rangers.
"I think it's going to be up to Joe," Damon said. "I've always tried to make myself available for him, even at my worst. I'm just going to get treatment, and if he needs to send someone up for me, I'll do what I can for him."
With Damon out of the lineup, Eric Hinske logged the start in left field, batting eighth and going 1-for-4. Nick Swisher was promoted to Damon's No. 2 hole in the batting order.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.