Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Determined Damon; An Understanding Giambi

Johnny Damon was not happy about the way things went last year. He was hurt a lot, he lost the centerfield job, and he struggled at the plate for much of the season. A lot of what transpired was due to the poor condition that Damon was in when he reported to spring training last year.

Brian Cashman, on the same night he took a shot at Bernie Williams, brought up Damon's lack of conditioning when discussing what went wrong last season before a crowd at William Paterson College in January. Damon doesn't want that to be the case again.

"I do not want him to have that feeling again," Damon said.
Damon's embarrassed that his name is no longer mentioned among the game's elite and he wants to change that this year.
"I think the pitchers know that I can still drive them crazy," Damon said. "In this game, you always have something to prove. You're only as good as your last at-bat. When the season ended, my bat was where it needed to be."
Damon lost just 4 pounds from last year, but feels the weight is better distributed. He rededicated himself to his home gym this off-season.
"I could never regroup," Damon said. "So this offseason, I finally was able to work out consistently. I was able to do things that this game has afforded me to do. I'm ready to go out there and prove to everybody that I'm still a pretty good player."
Peter Abraham also has some audio from this afternoon's meet and greet between Damon and the media. There's also audio from Joe Girardi and Jason Giambi.

Speaking of Giambi, he knows exactly what Andy Pettitte went through yesterday. Well not totally, since Giambi never publicly admitted to anything. But we know what he means. He was impressed by the job Pettitte did.
"I think that's the best you could do," Giambi said. "Trust me, I don't want to keep reliving this. It seems that everything that comes out, it keeps going. You don't really want to be one that paves the way, but you go out there and you get it done, and handle it like a man."

"It's not always the best to be the first."

"I don't know what's going to happen from here on out, but hopefully he's done with it," Giambi said. "I think he did a great job. He came in and said, 'Hey, I'm a human being, I made a mistake,' and I think he got that point across. All he can do now is work hard and try to win everybody back, one by one."
Giambi reportedly worked hard this season to get himself into better playing shape. The Yankees can only benefit from that dedication.

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