Indians stick by Damon amid struggles

Indians stick by Damon amid struggles

Indians stick by Damon amid struggles
CLEVELAND -- When the Indians signed Johnny Damon in April, they hoped he could add another solid left-handed bat in the outfield.

Thus far, though, the veteran Damon hasn't really resembled his normal self at the plate.

Through 15 games entering Sunday, Damon was hitting only .167 with no home runs and two RBIs for the Indians. His .254 on-base percentage was lower than his batting average in any of his 17 career seasons with the Royals, Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and Rays. Damon was removed from the leadoff spot in favor in Shin-Soo Choo last Monday.

In Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Marlins, Damon managed a hit in his four at-bats with a run scored. The 1-for-4 day improved his batting average to .172. He narrowly missed a home run when he hit a long fly ball to right field that was caught at the warning track in the seventh inning. He is still looking for his first home run of the season.

Because of Damon's struggles at the plate, Indians manager Manny Acta was asked Saturday how much rope Damon has going forward.

"We don't have a timetable or anything," Acta said. "Damon is here to play for us up until he doesn't want to be here. We signed Damon to be part of the Cleveland Indians. Johnny was signed to be part of this ballclub until the end."

Damon does have a clause in his contract which would allow him to be released if he isn't getting enough playing time or isn't a good fit for the team. He was back in the lineup Sunday after getting Saturday off.