CLEVELAND -- Johnny Damon knows he's not the best defensive outfielder. The Indians signed him for his bat, not his glove.
But on a night when Cleveland did little right, Damon provided a bright spot with his defensive play in the third inning of Friday's 10-2 loss to the Orioles.
With the Indians trailing 7-1, Nick Markakis sent a tailing fly ball to left field that drifted into foul territory. Damon chased the ball from his post in left, and made an acrobatic catch as he tumbled into the stands.
"When it went up," Damon said, "it probably was close to being a fair ball. But the way the wind was going, I definitely had to check and see where the wall was. Fortunately for me, it was the low part of the wall, so I was able to get up and get over it without hurting myself too bad."
Even in a blowout, the veteran Damon managed to excite the Progressive Field crowd.
"Johnny's been a great example for all these kids," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "Even when he struggled earlier in the season, he's been the same guy and always played as hard as he can."
The play was eerily similar to the one involving Yankees outfielder Dewayne Wise when the Indians visited New York last month. The only difference was Wise failed to make the catch as he fell into the stands. A fan was seen waving the ball near where Wise had fallen, but the umpire -- assuming Wise had made the grab -- called Indians hitter Jack Hannahan out.
On Friday night, Damon didn't need to fool the umpire. He opened his mitt as he climbed out of the stands to prove he had the ball.
"But I didn't know where my hat was," Damon said with a laugh. "I was worried someone ran off with it."
Rafael Perez set for Double-A stint on Monday
CLEVELAND -- Left-handed reliever Rafael Perez, who is on the disabled list with an injured left lat, will make a rehab appearance with Double-A Akron on Monday. Indians manager Manny Acta said Perez will pitch two innings or throw 30 pitches, whichever occurs first.
Cleveland will reevaluate Perez after the outing to decide whether he is ready to return to the big leagues or if he needs to continue his rehab.
Acta said Perez's velocity has been in the mid-80s in his recent Minor League outings. At this point, though, velocity isn't a major concern.
"He throws a lot of sliders and changeups, and relies a lot on movement," Acta said. "It's not like he's going out there throwing four-seamers to see how hard he can throw. The main thing for him is being healthy and getting people out. As long as he feels good, we're good with it."
Perez hasn't pitched since April 25 against Kansas City. He has a 3.52 ERA in eight appearances this year, and he posted a 3.00 ERA in 71 outings last season.
Quote to note
"I think I have a better chance of going to a four-man [rotation] than a six-man."
--Acta on whether he would consider going to a six-man rotation when suspended pitcher Roberto Hernandez returns to the active roster.
The Indians signed left-handed pitcher JC Romero to a Minor League contract and assigned him to Triple-A Columbus on Saturday. Romero, a 36-year-old veteran, was released by the Cardinals on May 14. He had a 10.13 ERA in 11 appearances for St. Louis this season.
Jack Hannahan has struggled at the plate since returning from the disabled list on June 15, but he's starting to show signs of breaking out of his slump. Hannahan hit a double, home run and drove in three runs in his last three games entering Saturday, after knocking in only two runs in his first 21 games after returning from the disabled list.
"It's good to see him have some success," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Success breeds confidence, and it's good to see him do that."
Cleveland was just 10-16 against the American League East entering Saturday night's game against the Orioles. The Indians are at the tail end of a 15-game stretch against AL East opponents.
Entering Saturday, the Indians remained three games out of first place in the AL Central after the White Sox fell to the Tigers on Friday night. Cleveland is in third place in the division, 2 1/2 games behind Detroit for second.
Justin Albers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.