SEATTLE -- Indians left fielder Shelley Duncan is not worrying about how the recent signing of veteran outfielder Johnny Damon might affect his playing time. Right now, Duncan is simply thrilled that a player of Damon's ability is going to be joining the ballclub.
"I couldn't be happier to have a guy like him as a teammate," said Duncan, who played with Damon on the Yankees from 2007-09. "It's premature and irresponsible for people to say certain things are going to happen [in regards to playing time].
"I have all my trust, and everybody on this team has a trust, that [manager Manny Acta] puts the best nine on the field to win that ballgame each day. I want that. Every day I play with that attitude. If I'm not hitting good, I shouldn't be in the lineup, because other guys can help this team win."
Entering Wednesday's game with the Mariners, Duncan was hitting .333 with two home runs and six RBIs through nine games as Cleveland's starting left fielder. He can also provide depth at first base or designated hitter. When Damon joins the team -- likely in early May -- he figures to garner most of his at-bats in left field.
The 38-year-old Damon, who hit .261 with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs in 150 games for Tampa Bay last year, is currently training at Cleveland's complex in Goodyear, Ariz. He officially signed a Minor League contract with the Tribe on Tuesday, which will allow him to build up his baseball activities in preparation for joining the big league team.
Duncan said he feels Damon will be an asset to the team.
"When I was in New York," Duncan said, "when I first got called up in 2007, he was one of the first ones to really embrace me and make me feel comfortable and make me feel part of the team. I'll be forever grateful for that. Watching him on a day-to-day basis, I learned a lot."