C800 2009 Yankees Outlook: LF

Chasing800 is going to look at each position and give you insight and opinion on the current situation and what may loom ahead. Today we will look at the Left Field.

Left Field:
Johnny Damon seems as the likely candidate to get most of the playing time in LF. He is entering the last year of a four-year contract that he signed prior to the 2006 season. Last season, Damon proved he was again one of the elite lead-off hitters in the game. His defense in LF is better than average in my opinion and he's better suited there, than he is in CF. His consistency at the plate will keep him in the line-up in some capacity, even if it means he gets a few days at DH.
On the days Damon isn't in LF, Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher will be there. Matsui is looking to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2008 in which he only played 92 games. I'm optimistic in thinking he will have a solid season. Matsui will get the majority of his at-bats at DH because the Yanks want to keep his knees healthy but I believe he will still be a key player for the Bombers this season. Swisher was the starting First Baseman before Mark Teixeria signed in December but he's now been reduced to a part time role, mainly in the outfield. Swisher should provide reliable defense in LF and a decent bat at the bottom of the order when he's playing.

Chasing800 Prediction: Damon has another solid season in LF, in his free agent walk year, I expect him to bat around .315 14 HR 78 RBI. His speed is not what it once was, but I expect around 20-25 steals and to play above average defense. I don't see Matsui getting much time in LF, and I see Swisher being a nice back-up. Yankee fans shouldn't worry about this position because they will get production and defense from whoever is out there.


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