Red-hot Damon gets to avoid the heat

Red-hot Damon avoids the heat

NEW YORK -- Johnny Damon's first reaction after winning Saturday afternoon's game was relief. The do-everything left fielder had played his role perfectly -- really, perfectly, finishing 6-for-6 -- and wanted nothing more than a seat in the shade.

"I know as the game went on, we were pretty tired," Damon said. "I ran around a lot."

One day later, nothing changed. Game time temperatures again soared into the mid-90s, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi came to the stadium armed with precautions. Girardi plucked Damon out of left field and started him at designated hitter, trying to prevent his hottest hitter from falling victim to a different sort of June swoon.

The key was avoiding a repeat of Saturday, when Damon had experienced cramps due to the heat. Though Damon quickly recovered and stayed in the game, the Yankees weren't about to take a risk.

"I just figured as much as he did yesterday, it's a way to make sure that he kind of rejuvenates himself and we keep his legs strong," Girardi said.

Heading into the weekend, Girardi was more worried about how the heat might affect catcher Jorge Posada than anyone else. Yet, after Posada spent more than a week in humid Tampa, Fla., rehabbing his injured right shoulder, he became more conditioned to the temperatures than anyone. So Posada caught on Saturday, was back in the lineup on Sunday and could remain there when the Yankees play their third straight day game on Monday.

"It is somewhat of a concern," Girardi said. "You worry more about cramping than anything else. And sometimes, when you get dehydrated, you worry a little bit about muscle strains. So, I mean, you pay attention to the guys. You ask them how they are every day."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.