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Johnny Damon will be the Indians’ leadoff man

May 2, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

Johnny Damon AP

Johnny Damon wasn’t in the Indians’ lineup yesterday because they were facing a tough left-hander in Chris Sale, but manager Manny Acta revealed that he’ll likely serve as the team’s leadoff man when he does play.

That’s certainly nothing new for Damon, who’s batted leadoff in more than 1,500 games during his 17-year career, but he’s done so a total of just 46 times in the previous three seasons and last season posted a below-average on-base percentage for the first time since 2001.

Acta of course chose to cite Damon’s career numbers in explaining the decision to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Other than the fact that he has a .355 lifetime on-base percentage in the leadoff spot, he’s close to 3,000 hits, and the fact that over the last three years he’s hit lefties better than righties? What else do you want me to give you? He’s been very effective doing that in his career.

All of which would be extremely compelling reasoning if not for the fact that Damon is 38 years old and posted a .326 OBP in 2011. If he’s still capable of an OBP around .350 the signing will have been an excellent one for Cleveland.

  1. aceshigh11 - May 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Well, hell, if career statistics are the only rationale for Acta’s decision, why not bring Rickey Henderson out of retirement? I’m sure he’d be game.

    After all, he’s got over 3,000 hits and a has .401 lifetime OBP.

  2. contraryguy - May 2, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Soon to be more important to Tribe fans: Acta’s. 420 career MLB winning percentage as a manager. How does Cleveland’s GM justify keeping this guy?

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