Johnny Damon is 40 years old, and hasn’t played in the majors since 2012, but that’s not stopping him from jumping right back in. Damon, a three-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, has been away from the Majors for some time after playing the 2012 season with Cleveland. But now, he’s looking to make his return.
Damon, who helped the Red Sox break the curse back in 2004, is a five time .300 hitter, with a .284 career average, 235 home runs, 1,139 RBI’s, and 408 stolen bases. His career on-base percentage (.352) is higher than every current leadoff hitter this season, aside from Jose Altuve, Coco Crisp, Matt Carpenter, Shin-Soo Choo and Brett Gardner.
While it’s true that these numbers probably wouldn’t carry over into this season, Damon is positive that he can still make a pretty big splash in the Majors.
“When you feel you can still outhit at least half the league, and you don’t get that call, it’s rough,” Damon told The Associated Press.“The biggest reason to play is to have a chance to win. Obviously, 3,000 hits would be great (he’s currently at 2,769), but winning is the reason I started playing this game. I’m going to continue to stay in shape, and I’ll be ready.”
But Damon isn’t the only one convinced. After getting his number retired by the Single-A Blue Rocks team in Wilmington, Delaware last month, Damon ran into Rob Potts, a batting practice pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Potts was convinced to throw to Damon for 15 minutes or so in the stadium, and was floored by the results.
In fact, he was so impressed that he actually went back to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to tell him to consider signing Damon. While Damon won’t be heading to Philly (they picked up Grady Sizemore a week later), Potts is still convinced that Damon should be heading MLB-bound once again.
“Johnny looks like he could play today,” Potts said. “His last swing, he said, ‘I’m gonna go yard,’ and he just turned on it. You can’t teach someone how to win a World Series, and he’s won two. He’s a great clubhouse guy, had success playing in the bright lights in New York and Boston. In the ninth inning in a pressure situation, I’d still want to have Johnny Damon hitting for me.”
stats courtesy of nesn.com