Damon has left shoulder tendinitis

Damon diagnosed with tendinitis in shoulder

TAMPA, Fla. -- Johnny Damon was diagnosed with tendinitis in his left shoulder, easing the minds of both Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Torre.

Damon, who was taken out of Team USA's World Baseball Classic starting lineup this week because of the shoulder problem, visited Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' medical director, on Tuesday in Southern California.

An MRI exam revealed no damage other than the tendinitis, and Damon will remain in Anaheim with Team USA. He won't throw for about a week, limiting him to pinch-hitting and pinch-running duties only.

"He feels he can pinch-run right now and maybe hit," Cashman said. "He just needs to get it calmed down, and that's why he's not a defensive player for them right now."

"I'm not concerned about him, based on the fact that I saw him pinch-hit the other day, plus the fact that Cash talked to him," Torre said. "It appears to be a Spring Training type of feeling."

Cashman said that Damon had no issues with the shoulder before leaving for the World Baseball Classic on March 2, so he assumes that the problem stems from something he did during the tournament.

"It happened obviously while he was out there," Cashman said. "He passed his physical; it wasn't an issue. Everybody has issues, and you go through the physicals and come up with how concerned you are with any preexisting things, but that's not one of them."

Should the U.S. advance to the semifinals, it is unknown whether Damon would stay with the team or be replaced by another player. Cashman plans to speak with Dr. Yocum on Thursday before Team USA's game to find out the doctor's recommendation.

"Based on what my conversation was last night, right now, he can pinch-run and might be able to hit," Cashman said. "If that's the case and he can get the treatment that he needs, then we'll continue it out there. But obviously if it's of a level higher than that, we'll pull him."

Cashman, who described his concern as "low-level," has spoken with Damon twice since Sunday, and he said the outfielder's attitude is as positive as ever.

"He's upbeat; he's a positive man," Cashman said. "From my limited experience with Johnny, that's what he always is. He's a bright-side type guy and he feels he's going to be fine and ready and this is [only] a small problem for him."

Damon is 1-for-7 in four Classic games, his only hit being a triple in the first game on March 7. He hopes to contribute to the team in any way possible, though he knows that his top priority is to be ready when the Yankees' season opens on April 3.

"He wants to help that USA team win, but he's also committed to being ready for us at the same time," Cashman said. "It's one of those balancing acts."

"Johnny knows what's important," Torre said. "They want to win there, but he also knows he has to get himself right to help whatever club he's playing for. He knows that, even though he's playing in the Classic, it's still the time of year when you get yourself in shape."

Cashman wouldn't comment on his feelings toward the injury taking place during the World Baseball Classic.

"I'm not even going to go there," the GM said. "All I can pass along is that you have all the knowledge I have right now. He's a player with limitations right now. We'll get him back here sooner than later, I hope."

It is unclear whether Damon will miss any exhibition games after he returns to the Yankees, but Cashman doesn't expect the center fielder to have any problem being ready 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," Cashman said. "Based on what I've been told by Dr. Yocum, hopefully this is nothing more than tendinitis that sprung up because he pushed himself. We'll give it a chance to calm down, then get him going again and be ready when the games count."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.