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Damon hoping to get right at the plate

Damon hoping to get right at the plate

Damon hoping to get right at the plate
BOSTON -- No one is more disappointed in the way Johnny Damon has performed at the plate than the outfielder himself, and he is searching for something to turn things around. Perhaps a few games in a familiar place can get Damon going.

"Hopefully getting back to Boston will be a jump-start for me," Damon said.

On Thursday afternoon, Damon sat inside the visitors' dugout at Fenway Park, discussing his latest trip back to the ballpark he once called home. After multiple questions from Boston reporters, the 38-year-old outfielder tacked on a comment that provided a glimpse into the frustration he is feeling at the moment.

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"I've got to get the bat going," he said repeatedly.

Through his first eight games with the Indians, Damon has hit .167 (5-for-30) as Cleveland's leadoff man. Following an 8-1 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday night, when Damon went 0-for-4, he expressed disappointment over his rough start for a ballclub that is trying to stay in first place in the American League Central.

"I'm the leadoff guy, and I've been pretty awful," Damon said. "It affects the guys coming up, the guys who drive the runs in -- [Jason] Kipnis and [Asdrubal] Cabrera. I definitely need to get it going."

The Indians signed Damon to a Minor League contract on April 17, and he spent roughly two weeks in extended spring training before joining Cleveland on May 1. Damon would not blame his lack of a real Spring Training for his offensive woes.

"That's not an excuse anymore, or ever was," he said. "It seems like lately I've been swinging at the pitches just off and taking the really good ones. [Doing that] in this game is going to be really tough to produce. That's pretty much what I'm doing. The swing, I think the first couple days, may have been a little lazy and not where I want it to be."

Indians manager Manny Acta noted recently that Damon has not reached a point where he can play every day. On Thursday -- despite Damon's comments -- Acta was quick to point out that the veteran outfielder did not have the benefit of going through a typical spring program.

"As much as you want to downplay it and all that, he didn't go through Spring Training," Acta said. "Guys that go through Spring Training, even regular guys that you're trying to take care of, they have 60 at-bats in better competition than extended spring. Some guys get close to 100 at times.

"He's had some good swings. He's hit some balls hard. Hopefully, he starts contributing for us. You have to appreciate that the guy owns up and understands the situation."

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