CLEVELAND -- The first few months of the season have been more challenging than Johnny Damon imagined.
"It's been tough. Florida was the dream," said Damon, a Florida native who spent the 2011 season with Tampa Bay before signing with the Indians after Spring Training this year. "I could drive back and forth if I needed to. I know that my kids don't necessarily need me at home right now, but I don't want to put them on the plane all the time, either."
Damon struggled early in the season as he was hitting just .175 as late as June 16. He has been much better lately -- he was hitting .319 with seven RBIs in 22 games since then, entering Monday -- but he simply hasn't produced like he has throughout his 17-year career.
And with the Indians beginning to slip a bit in the standings -- they'd lost four straight and seven of nine entering Monday -- Damon believes he'll be let go if the team slides out of playoff contention.
"If we're not in contention, I'll be the first one they drop," Damon said. "The team needs to work toward the future. Obviously it's up to [general manager] Chris [Antonetti], but that's the way I see it."
Damon said he would like to continue playing next year if a team signs him before Spring Training, but he admitted retirement has crossed his mind. Damon expected to be a key piece that could help the Indians get to the postseason, and the season hasn't gone the way he envisioned it.
"I've been a pretty good hitter throughout my career," he said, "and I still expect that kind of stuff from myself. When it doesn't happen, you start thinking about [retirement] a bit more."