After dealing Jesus Montero away on Friday, the Yankees have suddenly ramped up their pursuit of another bat. Johnny Damon and Carlos Pena are reportedly two players the Bronx Bombers have checked in on.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees have spoken with Damon about returning to New York as a designated hitter.
Damon served primarily as an outfielder while with the Yanks from 2006 to 2009, but he's since transitioned into mostly a full-time DH, playing 135 games in such a role with the Rays last season and 98 games in that role with the Tigers in 2010.
Damon, 38, compiled a .285 batting average and a .363 on-base percentage during his four seasons with the Yankees. He also showed the ability to take advantage of New York's short right-field porch, blasting a career-high 24 home runs on two separate occasions (2006, 2009) while in pinstripes.
Pena informed MLB Network Radio's Rich Herrera and Mel Antonen during a radio appearance that the Yankees have contacted him, but that he continues to explore all options, whether that be as a first baseman or a DH.
Pena, who turns 34 in May, was named an All-Star in 2009 as a member of the Rays, during the third of three consecutive seasons with more than 30 home runs and 100 or more RBIs. He racked up career highs of 46 home runs, 121 RBIs, a .282 average and a .411 on-base percentage in 2007. He suited up for the Cubs in 2011, hitting 28 home runs, driving in 80 runs and hitting .225.
Heyman reports that the Yankees don't have a lot of money to shore up their designated hitter role. He also speculates that there's only about a one percent chance the Yankees bring back Jorge Posada — who's believed to be retiring — in such role.
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