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Hot-hitting Damon thinking about future

Hot-hitting Damon thinking about future

TORONTO -- Johnny Damon is acutely aware of his decent chance for 3,000 hits, even calculating how long he'd have to play to get there. The numbers don't lie, but they don't reveal what uniform he'd be wearing.

"I can almost see it in my sights," Damon said. "It's probably going to be five more seasons, retire at 39 and go into the offseason with a big 40th birthday bash."

After locking up American League Player of the Week honors, Damon is clearly feeling good about his ability to produce on the field and his future in the game.

Eligible for free agency this winter, Damon can't predict what the future holds, but wants the Yankees to know he'd love to keep his pinstripes.

"This would definitely be the best place for me," Damon said. "I feel like this could be my last chance to be on a winner, so I understand the free-agent game, how it is.

"We have a bunch of young outfielders coming up, [but] I can't concern myself with that. I have to go out and play every day and pretend like it could be my last chance to get to the playoffs or possibly make a World Series run."

Damon -- who leads the Yankees with nine homers and stroked two of New York's five hits on Tuesday -- knows how unpredictable it can be once the games are no longer on the field.

He remembers handing out Christmas gifts at a Boston-area children's hospital in December 2005, thinking he'd be back in a Red Sox uniform right around the corner. Before Damon knew it, he was shaving his beard as a condition of signing a four-year, $52 million deal with the Yankees.

Seeing Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera all under contract for next season, plus prospect Austin Jackson in the wings, Damon knows his chances of returning are less than certain.

He also saw Bobby Abreu, a former teammate, take much less than anticipated to sign a one-year deal with the Angels, and wonders if there will be money for him in a free-agent crop where Matt Holliday and Rick Ankiel could garner the heartiest outfield bids.

"With this economy, it seems like there's no end in sight for it, so who knows what's going to happen?" Damon said.

So he is trying to enjoy his experience as much as possible. Damon said he wouldn't ask the Yankees to negotiate in-season, knowing that general manager Brian Cashman's policy is to leave such things until the Stadium lights go off. But he also isn't making his wishes much of a secret.

"I'd sure love to keep taking advantage of that right-field porch," Damon said.

Pitching matchup
NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-1, 4.38 ERA)
Pettitte is coming off a disappointing outing in which he allowed a career-high four home runs and allowed five runs in six innings to the Rays. He did not factor in the decision in an eventual 8-6 Yankees loss. After not allowing more than three earned runs in any of his first four starts, Pettitte has now had two tough starts in a row. He surrendered five runs in 5 2/3 innings to the Angels on May 1.

TOR: RHP Scott Richmond (4-1, 3.29 ERA)
Richmond gave up more runs in one inning (five) in his last start than he has in any of his 10 previous starts. It doesn't mean the league has caught up to him, though. After giving up five runs in the second inning of a 5-3 loss to Oakland on Friday, Richmond pitched one-hit ball over the final six innings and recorded his first career complete game.

Tidbits
Rehabbing right-hander Chien-Ming Wang threw six scoreless innings of three-hit ball on Tuesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but will remain in the Minor Leagues for one more start. Wang walked three, throwing 49 of 82 pitches for strikes. ... Hideki Matsui is considered day to day with tightness in his right hamstring and will be re-evaluated Wednesday. ... Derek Jeter is questionable for Wednesday with a sore right oblique. ... Damon has at least one extra-base hit in his past eight games.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, 92.7 WQBU (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Yankees (CC Sabathia, 2-3, 3.94) at Blue Jays (Brian Tallet, 2-1, 4.95), 7:07 p.m. ET
• Friday: Yankees (Phil Hughes, 1-2, 8.49) vs. Twins (Francisco Liriano, 2-4, 5.75), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 2-1, 3.89) vs. Twins (Nick Blackburn, 2-2, 4.32), 1:05 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.

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