UNION CITY, N.J. (AP) -Hideki Matsui will likely be a designated hitter when the New York Yankees open the playoffs Thursday at Cleveland.
Matsui hit just .185 in September with two homers and 12 RBIs and had fluid drained from his right knee on Sunday in New York.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said Monday that Johnny Damon could start in left field and that he also was thinking about using rookie Shelley Duncan, a right-handed hitter, against C.C. Sabathia in Game 1.
``I'm pretty comfortable with way Johnny's played left field,'' Torre said.
Sabathia is 1-7 with a 7.13 ERA against the Yankees but hasn't faced them since 2004.
The Yankees swept Cleveland 6-0 in the season series, but those games seem like ages ago. Chase Wright, Kei Igawa and Sean Henn got the wins at Yankee Stadium from April 17-19. Cleveland got hot only after the series at Jacobs Field from Aug. 10-12, winning 31 of its final 43 games.
``We certainly know that the Cleveland team we played and beat every single game this year is a different ballclub than we're going to face on Thursday,'' Torre said at Jose Marti Middle School, where he opened a ``Margaret's Place'' safe room on behalf of his ``Safe at Home Foundation'' to prevent domestic violence.
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ROCKET WATCH: Roger Clemens threw 49 pitches off a bullpen mound Monday at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., took 25 grounders and did some light running.
The Rocket, coming back from a hamstring injury, could throw a simulated game Tuesday. For now, he is on track to pitch Game 3 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
Torre planned to call him later Monday.
``If he feels he needs another session, I think we have choices at that point in time,'' Torre said.
Mike Mussina is the likely choice for Game 4, but if Clemens isn't ready, Mussina could pitch in Game 3 and be followed by rookie Phil Hughes.
Chien-Ming Wang pitches the opener, followed by Andy Pettitte in Game 2.
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ANOTHER ROOKIE: Torre said rookie Ross Ohlendorf, who made his major league debut Sept. 11, could be an option for the division series roster. The Princeton product had a 2.84 ERA in six relief appearances, striking out nine and walking two.
``He's only been relieving for two months. His stuff certainly indicates that that could be his future,'' Torre said. ``We're going to go with kids, anyway. As far as the hesitancy, he's going to have some company, whatever our decision is.''
Torre said seven pitchers were sent home after Sunday's regular-season finale: Brian Bruney, Tyler Clippard, Kei Igawa, Jeff Karstens, Sean Henn, Matt DeSalvo and Chase Wright.
Ian Kennedy, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 13 because of a strained back muscle, was headed to Tampa on Monday and will have a bullpen session later this week. Kennedy will leave to attend his wedding Saturday in Missouri, then return to Florida. Torre said he could be available for the AL championship series.
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BERNIE: Torre brought former Yankee Bernie Williams along with him to speak with the school children. Torre will be honored Nov. 9 at the ``Safe at Home Foundation'' dinner.
``Even though I was not a victim of domestic abuse,'' Williams said, ``I have relatives that were victims.''

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