Published January 08, 2015
A person familiar with the negotiations says Johnny Damon has completed his physical with the Detroit Tigers, clearing the way for the team to finalize a one-year contract with the outfielder.
The person spoke Sunday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn't been announced.
Another person familiar with the situation said Saturday night that the Tigers and Damon agreed on an $8 million, one-year deal, subject to a physical.
The 36-year-old Damon would bring another left-handed bat to the Tigers' lineup besides switch-hitter Carlos Guillen. Guillen and Damon would likely alternate between left field and designated hitter, but manager Jim Leyland says Guillen would be his everyday hitter out of the No. 5 slot.
Leyland said he told Guillen last fall that he would be the full-time left fielder. Guillen, who batted .242. with 11 homers and 41 RBI in 81 games last season, was told he would be in the lineup every day.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said Damon wasn't in the team's plans as late as January. But Damon came into the picture after the Tigers dealt leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, then allowed Placido Polanco to walk away via free agency.
``We needed to make some adjustments,'' Dombrowski said. ``We aren't doing it only for this year, but we also needed to move forward. The moves we made earlier in the year allowed us to make some adjustments, not only for now but also for the future. We also brought in some young talent.''
Damon has also been courted by the Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves since leaving the world champion New York Yankees as a free agent. He batted .282 with 24 homers for the Yankees last season and is expected to lead off for the Tigers, who have a gaping hole at the top of the batting order.
``I'm happy for him that he's found out where he's going to go,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Sunday. ``I think for players that's an anxious time. Trying to figure out where you're going to be. Usually it doesn't go on this long. I wish Johnny luck. Johnny was good for us here. We all miss Johnny. This is the hard part of the game when those relationships change a little bit. I'll root for Johnny except when he's playing against us.''
NOTES: LHP Bobby Seay is expected to be out for at least three days with shoulder bursitis, Tigers trainer Kevin Rand said. The injury isn't expected to be serious. ... Former Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers will report to camp on March 2 to work with pitchers on fielding and pickoffs. Rogers won 29 games for the Tigers between 2006-08. ... C Gerald Laird arrived in camp Sunday morning after flying all night from Los Angeles, where he attended the wedding of his sister. Laird went straight from the airport to the ballpark, where he caught Justin Verlander in the bullpen for 15 minutes. ... OF Magglio Ordonez arrived on Sunday and shagged fly balls. He's been working out on a bike all winter and said he feels more flexible and quicker than ever in his career. ``Magglio looks like a totally different player,'' Leyland said.