Teams looking for a proven hitter to help them down the stretch might want to call Johnny Damon.
The three-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion and five-time .300 hitter is staying in shape, swinging the bat and eager to return to the majors. The 40-year-old Damon last played for Cleveland in 2012, but isn’t quite ready for retirement.
“When you feel you can still outhit at least half the league and you don’t get that call, it’s rough,” Damon said. “The biggest reason to play is to have a chance to win. Obviously, 3,000 hits would be great but winning is the reason I started playing this game. I’m going to continue to stay in shape and I’ll be ready.”
Over the next few weeks before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31, contending clubs will contemplate dealing prospects to acquire a player they feel will help them make a postseason run. It’ll be hard to find someone with Damon’s resume available for nothing.
Damon, who is best known for helping the 2004 Boston Red Sox end an 86-year championship drought, has a .284 career average with 2,769 hits, 235 home runs, 1,139 RBIs and 408 stolen bases.
Damon said his agent, Scott Boras, hasn’t presented him with offers because perhaps they were “too embarrassing.” But Damon just wants to play baseball.
Clearing the bases
The Blue Jays activated reliever Brett Cecil from the 15-day disabled list and optioned outfielder Anthony Gose to Triple-A Buffalo. … The Yankees are no longer expecting the return of LHP CC Sabathia to their rotation this year. … Former closer Neftali Feliz has been recalled by Texas from Triple-A Round Rock, adding a fresh arm to their taxed bullpen. … Miami has placed infielder Derek Dietrich on the 15-day DL with a strained right wrist and also recalled outfielder Jake Marisnick from Triple-A New Orleans. … Umpire Gary Darling has decided to retire after a 28-year major league career.