After watching Damon hobble out of the batter's box with a cramped right calf in the ninth inning on Friday night, Yankees manager Joe Torre said he'd already drawn up the concept of the next game's lineup without Damon as an active member.
"Johnny's probably playable," Torre said. "It's a cramp in that right calf. [It's] nothing that would keep him from playing; I just decided that since he did it late in the game last night, I'd rather not start with him. If I need him later, I'll do that."
Damon, 33, has played through numerous injuries this season, and the cramps in his right calf are a recurring issue.
Damon avoided the disabled list when the issues popped up during the Yankees' first homestand of the season, leaving the Opening Day contest against the Devil Rays early and staying on the bench for the next two games.
On Saturday, Damon compared the feeling in his right calf to the ones he had back in April. Then, with a possible disabled list stint looming, Damon said he stretched extensively to ward off the pain, which turned out to be a mistake.
He said there was "no chance" of attempting the same treatment.
"I think I learned from earlier that I can't stretch it, because it would just make it worse," Damon said. "It's a pretty big cramp -- from my knee to my calf."
Pavano in the house: Injured right-hander Carl Pavano returned from his examination with noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Friday in Pensacola, Fla., though he did not speak with reporters before Saturday's game.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he planned to speak with Andrews on Saturday to learn more about the hurler's condition.
Pavano, 31, has not pitched since April 9 due to tendinitis in his right forearm and elbow, and it has been suggested that he could require Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. If so, Pavano, who is in the third year of a four-year, $39.95 million contract, would miss the remainder of 2007 and possibly all of 2008 as well.
The Yankees' investment in Pavano has thus far yielded just five victories, including his April 9 win over the Twins in Minnesota.
"It's been horrendous," Torre said. "Except for a couple of isolated incidents, I'm not sure it's been fun for him. ... I know a lot of people say, 'He's collecting all this money,' and this, that and the other thing. I still don't believe that he's happy with what's transpired here over the last couple of years."
Clubhouse shuffle: While Darrell Rasner unpacked his bags on Saturday, settling into a new locker at Yankee Stadium, Colter Bean assembled his belongings and prepared to depart.
Rasner, 26, shouldn't get too comfortable, though. The cycle is set to start all over again after the right-hander's scheduled start on Sunday, when he will be shipped out to make room on the Yankees roster for right-hander Matt DeSalvo.
"It's a good job," Rasner said. "I'm not going to complain."
Rasner made three starts with the Yankees earlier this season, going 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA before being shipped out for relief help. He did not allow a run in eight innings over two starts at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
"When I left here, I was on a pretty good roll," Rasner said. "I was confident. I let that roll over."
Meanwhile, Bean was left to lament his shaky outing against the Mariners on Friday, in which he faced four batters. All four batters -- including the first two, who walked on eight pitches -- came around to score as the Yankees endured a 30-minute, eight-run fifth inning.
"I need to pitch," Bean said. "Maybe I can go back down there and get things where they need to be."
Up and around: Phil Hughes spent an hour of his Saturday morning in an MRI tube, and when his chance to see the image of his strained left hamstring came around, Hughes instead opted for the door.
"I was just ready to get out of there," Hughes said. "I was just sore and stiff from laying down for an hour."
The 20-year-old right-hander worked out with Yankees team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon on Friday on a battery of flexibility exercises, and according to Cashman, Hughes tested very well.
"Maybe it's not as bad as we first expected," Cashman said.
The Yankees still maintain their initial projection of four to six weeks on the shelf for Hughes, who suffered the injury while working in the seventh inning of a no-hitter on Tuesday at Texas.
Milestone upcoming: Hideki Matsui entered Saturday's game with 1,999 career hits (1,390 in Japan and 609 with the Yankees). Upon reaching the 2,000-hit mark, the left fielder will be honored as a member of the Japanese "Golden Players Club," which is akin to a Hall of Fame for professional baseball players in Japan. Representatives are in New York this weekend in anticipation of Matsui's accomplishments.
Rocket talk: Since the offseason, Cashman's stance on free-agent right-hander Roger Clemens has remained relatively firm -- if and when Clemens decides that he wants to pitch in 2007, Cashman has said that the Yankees would maintain a strong interest.
While Cashman said Saturday that he remains connected to Clemens' agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks, to monitor the 45-year-old hurler's thought process, there is little news on that front to report. The Yankees -- along with the Astros and Red Sox, Clemens' other expected suitors -- are caught in a holding pattern, waiting for further word from the Rocket.
"In the meantime, we've got a whole lot of stuff here that we've got to continue to take care of," Cashman said. "Do we stay connected? Yeah. But right now, he can't help us today."
Coming up: The Yankees will play the third game of their four-game series with the Mariners on Sunday. Rasner (0-1, 3.86 ERA) will make his fourth start of the year for the Yankees, while lefty Jarrod Washburn (2-2, 2.88 ERA) will go for Seattle. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. ET.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less