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Yankees don't reciprocate Damon's interest in reunion

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Johnny Damon doesn't need to pack his car for the drive down Interstate 4. The Yankees have responded to the free agent's overtures by essentially saying, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman received a text message from agent Scott Boras on Monday after Damon told ESPN Radio that he had "tons of interest" in coming to camp to fight for a roster spot this spring.

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"We're going to evaluate what we have in camp," Cashman said. "I'm not looking outside at this stage. But my first response always to [an injured player] is to make sure we don't have what we need right here in front of us."

The Yankees are looking for a starting left fielder with Curtis Granderson expected to be sidelined until May. The cast of competitors currently in camp includes Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa and Ronnier Mustelier. Damon, who lives in nearby Orlando, said he'd join the mix for the league minimum.

"Listen, it's just not something we're going to pursue," Cashman said. "I love Johnny, a lot of leadership and everything else, but it's just not going to fit our needs. It's the same reason we didn't bring him in last year. We need somebody who can play the outfield every day."

The Yankees also heard from Damon last spring, but they decided to sign Raul Ibanez for a DH role because Ibanez had shown the ability to play some in the outfield. Cashman said on Tuesday that he believes Damon is no longer a full-time outfielder.

"That's what he was towards the end with us [in 2009]," Cashman said. "But he was a great Yankee, has a World Series ring to show for it, and it was a good marriage while we had it."

Cashman said he has also heard from other free agents about the outfield job and gave them the same response that Damon received. Cashman added that there have been no further discussions about an extension with Robinson Cano, whom Boras also represents.

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