MINNEAPOLIS -- Slumping Indians outfielder Johnny Damon returned to the starting lineup in Tuesday's series finale against the Minnesota Twins, one day after being replaced atop the order by Shin-Soo Choo.
However, Damon will have to earn his leadoff spot back. Choo was penciled in at No. 1 in the order for the second straight day Tuesday, where manager Manny Acta seems intent on keeping him, at least for the near future. Meanwhile, Damon was dropped to the seventh spot.
"Choo is our leadoff guy. That's where he is going to hit," Acta said. "[Damon] is struggling right now. He's going to continue to get his at-bats, but he's not going to get them in the leadoff spot right now."
Signed to a $1.25 million Minor League deal on April 17, Damon has failed to produce consistently since being inserted into the Indians' lineup on May 1. His batting average has plummeted to .159 (4-for-29) after posting only two hits in his last 18 at-bats.
Acta stands by his decision to pull Damon, but is confident the 38-year-old veteran can rediscover his swing at the bottom of the order.
"Johnny's numbers are there," Acta said. "He played decent last year. It's just a matter of him getting it going."