Johnny Damon is hoping to play in 2013 but said he will retire if he doesn't have a new contract by Spring Training, the veteran outfielder told reporters (including Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe) at David Ortiz's charity golf event.
"I liked being home last season with my kids. But I'm in shape and if I could play, I would," Damon said. "We'll see what happens. I still think I have something left if I am used the right way."
Damon hit .222/.281/.329 in 224 plate appearances with the Indians in 2012 and was released by the club in August. It's worth noting that Damon didn't sign his minor league deal with the Tribe until April, so it may be that Damon only wants to return this year if he can get the benefit of a full Spring Training camp (the lack of which could explain his struggles in Cleveland).
The 39-year-old also said he explored a short-term contract with the Red Sox in late September when the team asked him back for a celebration of the 2004 World Series team. Damon said he would return if the Sox signed him to a contract for the final week of the season, but Boston didn't have space on the 40-man roster.
If this is it for Damon, he will hang up the glove after an impressive 18-year career for seven different AL teams that included 2769 career hits, a .284/.352/.433 slash line, two All-Star appearances and World Series rings with both the Red Sox and Yankees.