SEATTLE -- Johnny Damon is closing in on a major milestone -- the kind that could increase his chances of being considered for baseball's Hall of Fame -- but the veteran outfielder is not citing his historic chase as a reason for signing with the Indians.
Damon is currently 277 hits shy of reaching the exclusive 3,000-hit club.
"Obviously, I would like to get it," Damon said on Tuesday. "But it's never been something that I set out for throughout my career. I've never bunted with a five-run lead for that extra hit. If I have a chance to walk, I'm going to. Unfortunately, with me, because I've played everywhere, people want to just assume how I play. But the track record shows that I an go out and I play hard and I play to win.
"That's why I've been able to help some teams win championships and help some teams that really weren't that good become a bit better. Three-thousand would be great, but I'm playing to win. I'm playing for the Tribe fans. I'm playing for the Indians organization. I'm not really playing for myself."
Damon, who has 2,723 hits in his 17-year career, is currently working out at the Tribe's complex in Goodyear, Ariz., and will likely join the big league team in early May. He would likely need to play at least one more season after this in order to potentially become the 29th player in baseball history to achieve 3,000 career hits.
Among those to reach the milestone, there have been 24 players elected to the Hall of Fame. The only members of the 3,000-hit class not currently in the Hall are Pete Rose, Craig Biggio, Rafael Palmeiro and Derek Jeter.
"I'm playing for all the fans out there," Damon said. "So 3,000 could be on the horizon, but if it comes or not, when I leave this game I want to make sure there's no regrets out there. As long as I keep doing what I did last year, and hopefully this is a successful year, I'm going to keep going."
Tribe places Asdrubal on bereavement list
SEATTLE -- The Indians are expecting to be without their All-Star shortstop for the next six games. On Tuesday, Cleveland placed Asdrubal Cabrera on baseball's bereavement list in light of the death of his grandfather.
Cabrera has returned to his native Venezuela to be with his family and Indians manager Manny Acta indicated that the shortstop is unlikely to rejoin the team until the club returns to Cleveland for its next homestand, beginning on April 24.
"All I can tell you is that he was pretty shaken up," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "It was his grandpa, who was a very important person in his life. ... He's going to Venezuela and he's probably going to miss the rest of the road trip."
With Cabrera temporarily out of the fold, the Indians recalled left-handed reliever Nick Hagadone from Triple-A Columbus to assume the vacated spot on the active roster. Hagadone will shift to the bullpen, giving the Tribe eight relief options at the moment. Acta said the Tribe likely will stick with that roster alignment until Cabrera's return.
"Unless somebody gets hurt and I really need an infielder up here," Acta said, "I think we'll be OK. The only way we'll make a move is if something strange happens in the next couple of days and Nick has to be overused or something."
According to Major League Baseball's guidelines, a player must remain on the bereavement list for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven. Acta said Cabrera likely will utilize the entire week, leaving the Indians a player short for the next six games through Seattle and Oakland.
Through eight games this season, Cabrera has hit .282 (11-for-39) with two home runs, three doubles, three RBIs and eight runs scored.
While Cabrera is away from the ballclub, Cleveland's top alternative for shortstop is utility man Jason Donald, who was in the starting lineup at short and in the No. 9 hole for Tuesday's game against the Mariners. Acta noted that Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan represents the backup option to Donald on the current big league depth chart.
The 26-year-old Hagadone -- a native of Seattle -- turned in 5 1/3 shutout innings in four appearances out of the Columbus bullpen so far this season. Hagadone, who posted a 2.53 ERA in nine Spring Training games for the Tribe, had a 4.09 ERA in his first taste of the big leagues last season, when he spent nine games with the Major League team.
Quote to note
"I'm here for the team. It's not a story about me. It's a story about the Cleveland Indians adding another guy to help them throughout the season." -- Newly signed outfielder Johnny Damon.
On Tuesday, the Indians named Class A Carolina left-hander T.J. House the organization's Minor League Player of the Week for the period of April 9-15. During that stretch, House went 1-0 with 13 shutout innings, striking out 17, scattering six hits and walking two. Cleveland will name a Minor League Player of the Week every Tuesday throughout the season.
Outfielder Johnny Damon, who officially signed with the Indians on Tuesday, has enjoyed hitting at Progressive Field in Cleveland throughout his career. In 293 plate appearances, the left-handed-hitting Damon owns a .308 average with a .380 on-base percentage and a .438 slugging percentage at his new home ballpark.
The order for the 2012 First-Year Player Draft was released on Tuesday. The Indians will make their first selection with the 15th overall pick on June 4. Cleveland's next selection will come with the 79th overall pick, which falls within the Draft's second round.