Cabrera to start for Damon while he's out

New York Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon has a sore right calf and wasn't
in the posted lineup for Wednesday's game against the Devil Rays, which was postponed because of rain.

Johnny Damon Damon

"I could barely walk," Damon said. "It felt like cramps the
other day, but it's definitely much worse than that."

Damon left Monday's opening victory over Tampa Bay with cramps
in both calves, but said Wednesday only the right one was still
bothering him. In the clubhouse, he had his right calf wrapped.

"We're probably dealing with a strain, but to what degree we
don't know yet," general manager Brian Cashman said. "No
bruising. It's not swollen. But it's sore."

Melky Cabrera was slated to start in center field Wednesday, and
second baseman Robinson Cano was in the leadoff spot.

Cabrera will fill in for Damon until he returns. If Damon has to
go on the disabled list, the Yankees would probably call up an
outfielder from the minors. But after talking with team physician
Dr. Stuart Hershon, Cashman said a stint on the DL was "not
something that's being recommended right now."

No tests on Damon were planned yet. First, Hershon wants to see
how Damon feels Thursday, Cashman said.

The GM was asked if an injury to Damon might open up a spot for
former outfielder Bernie Williams on the major league roster.
Cashman had a one-word answer: "No."

Williams, a longtime stalwart and fan favorite, declined New
York's offer of a minor league contract in the offseason and never
came to spring training.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said he's comfortable with Cabrera,
who got plenty of playing time as a rookie last season because of
injuries to fellow outfielders Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield.
Cabrera batted .280 with seven homers, 50 RBIs and 26 doubles in
460 at-bats. He also scored 75 runs and stole 12 bases while
playing excellent defense, especially in left field.

"Obviously, if it doesn't start to get better, we'll become
more concerned," Torre said, referring to Damon. "We're certainly
confident in Melky's ability. The fact that he played as a regular
player for us last year, I feel pretty good about that."