New York Daily News

Damon spells it nomad


THE PAST few years haven’t gone exactly the way Johnny Damon had imagined them, but the former All-Star has no regrets.

Yes, he would have liked to stay with the Yankees after he helped them capture the 2009 World Series. After last season, he envisioned himself finishing his career in Tampa Bay, where he had “the most fun in my career” during his one-year stay.

Yet there he was Monday, playing left field at Yankee Stadium for the Cleveland Indians, his third team in the past three seasons and the seventh of his career.

“It’s tough changing teams year after year; you have to try to win over everybody, coaches, teammates, fans, media — everything,” Damon said before hitting a double in four at-bats to raise his average to .203 .

After batting .271 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI for the Rays last season, Damon assumed he would return to Tampa Bay, but the Rays signed Luke Scott to a $6 million deal instead.

Damon cont acted t he Yankees and Tigers, two of his former teams that were searching for help at DH. Neither wanted him, a fact that was tough for him to digest.

“I love this place,” Damon said. “That’s why I wanted to reach out to them when they did trade (Jesus) Montero.”

Then the Indians called. After thinking about it for a couple days, the 38-year-old Damon decided he wasn’t ready to hang up his spikes, signing on April 17.

Damon entered the season with 2,720 hits, the fourthhigh­est total among all active players, but a slow start has moved him to now 28 hits closer to 3,000, a number he now understand­s may never come.

Monday night, he received a roll call chant from the Bleacher Creatures, a reminder that his place in Yankees history will be secure long after his playing days are over.

“The only thing I know is that I left here a champion,” Damon said. “That’s something that I’ll have forever.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States