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Johnny Damon excited to join Indians

By C. Trent Rosecrans | Blogger
Johnny Damon

Johnny Damon is leaving one team and readying to join another -- the Cleveland Indians.

As for the team he's leaving, the 38-year-old Damon played in a soccer game on Wednesday night before sending word that he expects to sign with the Indians soon. While a deal seems imminent, there is not yet an agreement in place.

"Cleveland has always been great to me," Damon texted CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman. "And I'm looking forward to reuniting with teammates."

Former teammate Derek Lowe is currently on the Indians roster.

With Travis Hanfer aboard, it seems Damon will be playing left field along with Shelley Duncan. The Indians tried to get Bobby Abreu from the Angels recently, but Damon will fill that role.

Last season with the Rays, Damon hit .261/.326/.418 with 16 home runs and 19 stolen bases. He's a career .286/.353/.435 hitter and needs 287 hits to reach 3,000 for his career. Damon said he'd likely be ready after "three days of shagging and hitting," but noted the Indians "probably want at least a week."

Damon made 11 starts in the outfield and 35 the year before with Detroit. He was the Yankees' primary left fielder in 2009.

According to a tweet from FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, Damon will have a full no-trade clause and an out clause in his contract with Cleveland that allows him to leave the team on a specified date after Grady Sizemore returns. Sizemore is not eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list until June 3.

As for the team he's leaving, Damon expressed regret.

"I had a soccer game tonight and won 13-3 and I was smooth," Damon texted. "I feel bad I have to leave them."

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