Damon back and ready for the boos

May, 10, 2012
BOSTON -- Johnny Damon is back in Boston. That’s nothing new; he’s returned dozens of times since leaving the team after the 2005 season.

But every time he comes back, Damon draws a crowd. Such was the case Thursday when he returned as a member of the Cleveland Indians. No matter the uniform he is wearing, the line of questioning will always involve the Red Sox.

Ever the optimist, Damon offered up a dose of positivity for disgruntled Boston fans.

“They’re notoriously a slow-starting team,” he said about the Red Sox. "Everybody knows they’re a good team. They just have to find their way. Hopefully it’s not during this weekend. But, they have talent there. So, it’s just a matter of time.”

Meanwhile, Damon has played eight games for his new team, which is sitting in first place in the American League Central. Amazingly, it is his fourth team since he patrolled center field for the Red Sox.

“It’s strange, especially since I left this team and how many more teams I ended up playing for,” he said. “I never really envisioned this, on my seventh team now. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I wanted to keep on playing, and playing brought me to Cleveland this year. And hopefully we can keep playing well. And hopefully I can get my bat going.”

Damon is hitting just .167 (5-for-30) for the Indians. Regardless of the numbers, he is someone who could actually help out Boston at this point. The Sox have already used nine different outfielders this year. Daniel Nava, brought up Thursday, will be the 10th.

Boston never approached Damon when he was a free agent, a period that stretched into the regular season before he was able to reach a deal with Cleveland.

“I was sitting at home, staying in shape, hitting every now and then,” he said of the wait. “But yeah, I was ready to answer anybody’s call. I knew if I sat at home for a little bit longer, I just may not leave. But I didn’t want to have any regrets. And when they called me, I thought about it for a couple of days. And then I jumped on it. I didn’t want to sit around a year from now, saying what could have been or should have happened.”

Since he left Boston, Damon has become accustomed to the boos at Fenway Park, always an oddity given that he was such a success here. The boos are merely a by-product of him leaving to join the New York Yankees. Or so it seems. Damon joked that he has faced that treatment everywhere.

“I get booed everywhere, so, I’m used to it,” he said. “I’ve been loved and hated everywhere, but I’m still the same guy. I’m still the nice, big-smiling guy who still enjoys what he’s doing.”

And still drawing a crowd at Fenway Park.



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