CHICAGO: Let’s try it again.
Johnny Damon was excited to make his Indians debut Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox and was forced out of the game after he popped out in the sixth inning.
His departure was explained by the team’s medical staff this way: general cramping. That meant not just his legs, but his back, his hands and maybe anything else on his body that has moving parts (his eyelids?).
Damon was back in the lineup Thursday night as the designated hitter.
“I don’t think he’ll cramp up being the DH,” Indians manager Manny Acta said, facetiously. “By having him DH, you cut out about 50 percent of the action.”
Acta frequently has said that Damon will not get many at-bats at DH. Most of the time, he will play left, sharing the position with Shelley Duncan.
Damon has suffered from muscle cramps before, but apparently it’s been awhile.
“I think it was the first game of the season in 2007 in New York, when the temperature was in the 70s,” Damon recalled Thursday. “Another time was in Kansas City, but that was awhile ago.”
He said the event that brought on the cramping was going from low humidity of Arizona, where he prepped to start the season, to the relatively higher humidity of the Midwest.
“Normally it takes me about seven days to acclimate myself to the humidity,” Damon said. “It’s the first game I had to come out of because of cramping. But I feel good today.”
The other thing he thinks contributed to the problem was the medication he takes to control his high blood pressure, which he said drains the body of potassium.
It’s not that Damon ignored a problem that had arisen before. He took a potassium pill and tried to hydrate himself as much as possible before Wednesday’s game. It just didn’t work.
Damon realizes that his body sends him different messages at age 38 than it did at age 25 or 30.
“At the time, I didn’t think much about it,” he said. “But I have to prepare different now than I did five years ago or maybe even last year.”
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.