Damon notches Yanks' first steal

Damon notches Yanks' first steal

BOSTON -- It wasn't exactly Babe Ruth promising a home run for a sick child, but Johnny Damon came through on his vow to break the Yankees' stolen base schnide.

Damon stole New York's first base of the season on Sunday against the Red Sox battery of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jason Varitek, sliding into second base safely in the top of the first inning at Fenway Park.

The Yankees had tried to steal just twice in the first 12 games of the season and were unsuccessful both times. Discussing the lack of running on Saturday, Damon said the Yankees had not had many opportunities but added, "I promise you, we will get one."

The stretch was the Yankees' longest to begin a season since 1948. That year, New York recorded its first stolen base in the season's 17th game on a double steal by Phil Rizzuto and Tommy Henrich.

Derek Jeter tried running on Opening Day against the Blue Jays' battery of Gregg Zaun and Roy Halladay, and Bobby Abreu was caught stealing on April 2 by Toronto catcher Rod Barajas, attempting to run on A.J. Burnett.

The Yankees hadn't tried until Damon took off. They were the last Major League team to record a stolen base in 2008.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.