Johnny Damon: "It's an unhappy day"
Johnny Damon greatly enjoyed his experience playing for the Rays last season and was very much hoping to come back.
But when the Rays struck a deal Wednesday to bring in Luke Scott as their primary DH, it meant Damon wasn't going to get to return, and that didn't go over well.
"It's an unhappy day,'' Damon texted. "Didn't realize the DH and 1B brought the offense down. Thought we would've had an offer.''
Damon, 38, talked of finishing his career with the Rays, enjoying the team, the atmosphere and playing close to his Orlando home, while making $5.25-million, his lowest salary since 2000.
Instead, he will be looking for a new team for the third consecutive off-season, saying there's been talks with at least one.
"You wonder why fans can't get involved with players,'' he said, "because they are here and gone.''
Damon has 2,723 career hits, with a goal of reaching 3,000.
Earlier Wednesday, before news of the Scott signing broke, Damon made similar, and stronger, comments during an appearance at Disney World's Wide World of Sports Complex with the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team practice.
"Obviously, I love playing there, but for some reason they're looking for a DH and a first baseman,'' Damon told foxsportsflorida.com. "And I thought Kotchman and I were probably the two more consistent guys in the lineup last year. I know they want to upgrade the offense, but the offense is going to be fine as long as there's some production from the catching spot and shortstop.
"Those positions were hitting under .200 and obviously I think that's going to improve, and because of that, it's going to make the rest of the team improve. But Kotch and I keep hearing in the offseason that they want to get better there (DH and first)."
Damon also reiterated that he hoped to get to 3,000 hits with the Rays.
"That's what I want to do, I want to keep climbing that list," he said. "But I know the Rays have a chance to win. And I know the chance to win is better with me, with my experience and my leadership."