Damon catching on with Indians

Damon catching on with Indians

CLEVELAND -- Derek Lowe was cruising, and Johnny Damon wanted to keep it that way.

It was the sixth inning on Friday night, and Minnesota's Denard Span sent a line drive in the direction of Damon in left field. Lowe had allowed just two hits to that point, and Damon was willing to do whatever it took to preserve his friend's shutout.

Damon and Lowe played together for three years with the Red Sox from 2002-04, three of the best statistical years of each player's career. They won a World Series together in 2004.

When Damon chased down the Span liner and made a diving catch, it looked like it was 2004 again.

"It felt like old times," Damon said. "The ball stayed low, so it couldn't get caught in the lights and all that stuff. You always want to make plays for whoever is pitching, but Derek and I do go back a long time. It definitely felt good."

Damon has gotten a good amount of time in left field since joining the Indians, but it has been some time since Damon was an everyday outfielder. He was mostly used as a designated hitter for the Tigers and Rays the last two seasons.

Damon said many of the teams he talked to during the offseason didn't believe he could still be a good defensive outfielder. That's one of the reasons he didn't get a job until after Spring Training.

Damon showed on Friday night that he's still plenty capable of making a play.

"That was a tremendous catch," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "People tend to forget that, it's been awhile, but this guy used to be a center fielder. It's been awhile and he's been DHing a lot, but his legs are still there and he can move around pretty good."