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Johnny Damon excited to join the Indians

Apparently Indians manager Manny Acta read all he needed to from reports out of Goodyear, Ariz., where Johnny Damon has been training for two weeks since signing a one-year contract with the club.

Acta said the 38-year-old will bat leadoff and play left field when the Tribe takes on the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday.

"That's the way we mapped it out with Johnny last week," Acta said. "He just flew in [Monday] night from Arizona, so we planned out that [on Tuesday] he'd just run around, take batting practice with his new teammates, start to feel comfortable around people here and then play [on Wednesday]."

The addition of Damon relegates Shelley Duncan to more of a bench or platoon role. Duncan will likely snare some at-bats against left-handed pitching at either corner-outfield spot, first base or designated hitter. Damon has spent most of the past two seasons in a DH role with Detroit and Tampa Bay, but Cleveland already has a full-time DH in Travis Hafner.

"I see it as an opportunity," Damon said. "The fact that I didn't play outfield the last couple of years kept teams away some [over the offseason]. They didn't know what they were getting. I know I can still chase some balls down."

The White Sox are no stranger to getting production from guys who have been around the block. First-year manager Robin Ventura has been impressed with the work ethic he's seen from 36-year-old first baseman Paul Konerko and 35-year-old catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

"They come in, they get their work in and they're still good players," Ventura said. "Part of staying consistent is that even though you're playing every day, you still have to come in and work at it. And they do, whether it's in the cage, watching film or stuff like that. I think [Konerko is] probably a little smarter than he was when he was younger, just understanding what guys are trying to do."

Konerko is batting .369 with five homers. Pierzynski, who is hitting .306, launched his fifth homer of the season in Tuesday's 7-2 win over the Tribe.

Damon isn't aiming for any lofty personal achievements, but hopes to be productive enough to provide a lift for an Indians club that is tied with Chicago and Detroit for first place in the AL Central.

"I have nothing to go out there and prove [it]," Damon said, "to help the Indians stay atop of the standings, get to the playoffs and help some young players mature and become professionals. I've been playing this game for a long time and I've loved it. I've been able to play it with passion and play it with a smile.

"I still enjoy it. I know once that day comes where the enjoyment factor is not there, that's what's going to tell me when it's time to leave."

Indians: Tomlin looks for better results against Sox
Josh Tomlin will toe the rubber on Wednesday with hopes of offering a better outing against Chicago than he did in his first start against the White Sox. On April 9, Tomlin surrendered four runs on seven hits in five innings in his first career outing against the division foe.

In four appearances (three starts) this season, Tomlin is 1-2 with a 5.48 ERA.

White Sox: Humber searching for middle ground
Philip Humber has hit both ends of the spectrum in his last two starts. The right-hander delivered the 21st perfect game in Major League history on April 21. Five days later, the Red Sox torched him for nine runs in five innings.

"This game will humble you," Humber said after the outing against Boston. "It will make you feel good one day and make you feel bad the next.

"You've got to take every game as its own game, and [April 21] was one game, and tonight was one game. I'm going to keep working and battling and hopefully next time will be better."

Worth noting
• Duncan snapped the Indians' 11-game homerless streak with a solo homer in the seventh inning on Tuesday.

• The White Sox will play 21 of their 29 games in May against AL Central opponents.

"When you're playing against your own division, you want to make sure you're playing well and don't give any away," Ventura said. "Maybe take a couple."

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