Damon inches closer with BP session

Damon inches closer with BP session

NEW YORK -- Johnny Damon took several swings during batting practice on Saturday afternoon prior to the Yankees' contest against the A's.

While his teammates were preparing for Saturday's game, Damon took the next step in his rehabilitation process, bringing his return to the starting lineup a little closer.

He fit in with the rest of the group, sending several balls deep into the outfield.

Damon was placed on the disabled list July 6 with an AC sprain of his left shoulder. The outfielder injured his arm on July 4, when he crashed into the left-field wall while trying to chase down a deep fly ball from Boston's Kevin Youkilis.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said there have been no setbacks, and it's possible that Damon could return to the lineup without playing in a Minor League rehab game.

"That's something we'll have to talk about," Girardi said. "We'll decide whether it's best for him to go to rehab or not, and obviously, the player can make that decision as well. I've seen a lot of players not need a rehab game."

Damon spent time in Tampa, Fla., during the All-Star break and said he felt good after he hit off a tee on Friday. Girardi said that Damon will likely start off in the designated-hitter role and work his way back to the outfield.

"He hasn't thrown yet, so eventually, we're going to have to approach that," Girardi said. "But my thought is he'll DH before he plays the field."

Girardi said the Yankees are looking to get Damon back sometime in the next week, and while he didn't specify a date, Girardi is eager to put Damon's bat back in the lineup as soon as possible.

"Any time is fine with me," Girardi said. "The earlier, the better."

Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.