Johnny Damon's long stint on the free agent market has officially come to an end. The outfielder's minor league deal with the Indians is complete, the team announced. Damon will earn a $1.25MM salary in the Major Leagues plus another possible $1.4MM in bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter).
The deal will include a full no-trade clause and allow Damon to explore other opportunities should he lose playing time once Grady Sizemore returns. Sizemore is expected to miss 8-12 weeks due to back surgery.
Damon, 38, figures to step into Cleveland's left field situation as soon as he's ready to join the team. Shelley Duncan has started all five of the Indians' games in left, but he's best deployed as the right-handed half of a platoon. A fit between the Tribe and Damon seemed natural for most of the offseason.
Just 277 hits away from 3,000 for his career, Damon hit .261/.326/.418 with 16 homers and 19 steals for the Rays last season. He has played fewer than 400 total innings in the outfield over the last two years, but he has appeared in at least 140 games in each of the past 16 years.
The Indians tried to acquire Bobby Abreu a few weeks ago, presumably for the same role Damon will fill. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that Damon would sign with the Indians (all Twitter links).