Damon wants to be back with Yanks

Damon wants to be back with Yanks

NEW YORK -- Johnny Damon isn't quite certain if his desires will become reality.

Damon, a free agent after this season, wants to return to the Yankees next year, but he isn't sure if the team will want him back, according to an ESPN radio report on Friday.

"I know where I want to be next year," Damon told 1050 ESPN New York. "I want to be here in New York. I also know New York has a lot of young outfielders coming back. Austin Jackson is in the wings. At least in this situation, I know my chances of coming back could be slim because of the young talent the Yankees do have."

Jackson, 22, is hitting .371 through 16 games in his first season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Starting right fielder Nick Swisher is under contract through 2011. The Yankees will also retain control of center fielder Melky Cabrera, who is arbitration-eligible, and Brett Gardner.

Damon, 35, is in the fourth year of a four-year, $52 million contract signed prior to the 2005 season. He hit .303 with 17 home runs and 29 stolen bases last year.

Through 20 games this season, Damon is hitting .295 with four home runs.

"Everyone is pretty much thinking this could be my last year here," Damon said. "I went out as a free agent in Boston and had a great year, and I priced myself out of their market at the time. Hopefully, I can go out and have a good year, and they can see how important I am with the other players with doing the recruiting and doing whatever this team needs me to do. I've enjoyed playing here."

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