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Indians Cut Ex-Rays DH Damon, Jeopardizing Quest for 3,000 Hits

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DETROIT (AP) — Johnny Damon was cut by Cleveland on Friday after struggling through 64 games with the Indians, leaving the veteran outfielder facing an uncertain future once again.

Damon, designated for assignment, signed with Cleveland on April 17 but hit only .222 with four home runs.

“He made an impact on a lot of people here, despite not performing the way he was expecting and we were expecting,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. “He’s still a guy who can move around pretty good. I think he was affected by missing spring training, and I think I have a sense that he probably is going to continue to play, and he is open to joining somebody else.”

The Indians recalled outfielder Ezequiel Carrera from Triple-A Columbus.

Cleveland had lost six straight and trailed the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central by 7½ games entering Friday night’s game. The Indians designated right-hander Derek Lowe for assignment earlier this week.

“We’re not making changes just to make changes, or to bring young kids just to bring young kids,” Acta said. “Obviously, those were spots where we weren’t getting the production we were hoping for, and might as well make moves and bring somebody else in.”

The 38-year-old Damon has spent most of his career with Kansas City, Boston and the New York Yankees, but he’s bounced around the last few seasons, playing with Detroit in 2010 and Tampa Bay last year.

He has 2,769 hits but may be running out of time if he wants to make a run at the 3,000 milestone.

Cleveland has 10 days to trade Damon or release him.

“I can’t speak for him. I don’t know whether he was expecting it or not,” Acta said. “He’s been around long enough — a guy like him and Derek. I’m sure they probably knew that something probably had to be done.”

Last season, Damon batted .261 with 16 homers, 73 RBIs and 19 steals in 150 games for the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the 16th consecutive season Damon played at least 140 games, a feat he shared with only Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson and Pete Rose.

That streak ends this year.

Damon has appeared in 59 postseason games for the Rays, Oakland Athletics, Yankees and Red Sox.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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