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Yankees can return to greatness, Damon says
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10:50, November 29, 2007

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The New York Yankees can end their barren World Series run next year and return the franchise to their glory days, according to outfielder Johnny Damon.

The Yankees last won the World Series in 2000, but have not made it to the "Fall Classic" since 2003. But with a new manager, a crop of talented young pitchers and the re-signing of some of their influential stalwarts, Damon is confident they will soon end that drought.

"We should able to (win) next year because the Yankees, we always give ourselves a chance," Damon told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Thailand, his mother's home country.

"We were the only team who made it back to the playoffs this year from the year before. We're going to be as good as ever. It's about our guys coming through at the right time."

After a below-par season, rumors circulated that the Yankees would trade him, though he said new manager Joe Girardi had since assured him of a future in the Bronx.

"I had breakfast with him (Girardi) and that went great, he plans to put me in as the left fielder and the leadoff, I can't wait to get it going," said the 34-year-old.

"There's definitely a few more years in me, hopefully a few good ones and probably another championship.

"I'm all about winning and when it's time for me to walk away, I'll know, but that's no time soon."

Huge boost

Damon is excited by the prospect of playing under Girardi and added re-signing American League MVP Alex Rodriguez and veterans Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera had been a huge boost.

"Re-signing Alex Rodriguez was a great move and getting Girardi is a very positive step. (His players) said he might be the best manager they ever played for and when players say that, it means a big thing."

Damon, who won the World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2004, left for the Yankees at the end of the following season.

Despite being vilified by Red Sox fans, he believes the time was right for him to move to the Yankees, even though they have found themselves playing second-fiddle to his former team. The Red Sox won their second World Series in four seasons last month.

"The Yankees can get back on track, everyone knows how great our offense is, we compare with the Red Sox, we may even be better than them," he said.

Damon also believes the key to success will be fun in the clubhouse, where his bizarre antics have earned him a reputation as a joker and a man a little too comfortable with nudity.

"You have to try to have fun and enjoy playing.

"It's all about jokes, doing naked pull ups and putting on my shorts in front of the other guys. We have to keep things as loose as possible," he added with a huge grin.

"Sometimes, last year wasn't fun, everyone was focusing on us losing. You've got to focus on the positive and being a happy person."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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