Report: Damon completes physical for Tigers

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


“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.