Kotchman would welcome Damon into fold

Kotchman would welcome Damon into fold

KANSAS CITY -- Casey Kotchman has heard all the speculation about Johnny Damon possibly joining the Indians. If a Damon signing becomes official, Kotchman believes the Indians would be getting a veteran who could bring a lot to the organization both on and off the field.

Kotchman and Damon were teammates last year at Tampa Bay and Kotchman saw first-hand how Damon affected a team that reached the postseason despite losing some key performers from the previous year.

"Johnny has a lot to offer any team," Kotchman said. "He's a winner, as history shows. He brings energy and is always upbeat. He never has a bad day. To have him on the [Tampa Bay] team last year was critical. Over the course of six months, you're going to have ups and downs. It's nice to have somebody there who has been there and done that. Johnny always brings a positive attitude."

Kotchman, who homered in the Indians' 11-9 win in 10 innings on Saturday, said he didn't think the Rays would have reached the playoffs last year without Damon's offensive contributions and clubhouse presence.

"He brought us a lot of life, a lot of energy and kept everything loose," Kotchman said. "There's no panic with Johnny Damon."

Although the 38-year-old Damon didn't have the benefit of Spring Training this year, Kotchman doesn't think it would take Damon as long as the normal player to get ready to hit Major League pitching.

"Johnny has seen a lot of pitches in his day, so he has a lot to draw on," Kotchman said.