04/15/12 2:05 AM ET
Kotchman would welcome Damon into fold
By Robert Falkoff / Special to MLB.com
Kotchman and Damon were teammates last year at Tampa Bay and Kotchman saw first-hand how Damon affected a team that reached the postseason despite losing some key performers from the previous year.
"Johnny has a lot to offer any team," Kotchman said. "He's a winner, as history shows. He brings energy and is always upbeat. He never has a bad day. To have him on the [Tampa Bay] team last year was critical. Over the course of six months, you're going to have ups and downs. It's nice to have somebody there who has been there and done that. Johnny always brings a positive attitude."
Kotchman, who homered in the Indians' 11-9 win in 10 innings on Saturday, said he didn't think the Rays would have reached the playoffs last year without Damon's offensive contributions and clubhouse presence.
"He brought us a lot of life, a lot of energy and kept everything loose," Kotchman said. "There's no panic with Johnny Damon."
Although the 38-year-old Damon didn't have the benefit of Spring Training this year, Kotchman doesn't think it would take Damon as long as the normal player to get ready to hit Major League pitching.
"Johnny has seen a lot of pitches in his day, so he has a lot to draw on," Kotchman said.
Lopez makes impact as DH against Royals
KANSAS CITY -- With left-hander Jonathan Sanchez on the mound for the Royals, it marked an opportunity for Indians manager Manny Acta to get right-handed-hitting Jose Lopez into the lineup on Saturday as the designated hitter.
Lopez had a two-run double and finished 1-for-5 in the Indians' 11-9 win in 10 innings.
Acta said he'll continue to look for opportunities to get Lopez some plate appearances.
"It depends on the matchups and who needs a day off the most," Acta said. "You saw [Lopez] before at first base. There could be a day where he's at second base and rest [Jason] Kipnis, or it could be a day where we have him at third. We need to get him in there and get him involved."
Lopez hit .327 in 23 games this spring with two homers and 10 RBIs. He homered against the White Sox in an April 9 start.
Tomlin slated for 'pen duty until next start
KANSAS CITY -- Because of rain and off-days, right-hander Josh Tomlin won't make his next start until Thursday at Seattle. In the meantime, Tomlin is giving Indians manager Manny Acta another arm in the bullpen.
Tomlin appeared in relief on Saturday, but struggled by allowing six hits and five runs (four earned) in 3 2/3 innings. The Indians won, 11-9, in 10 innings.
"He's a guy who knows what to do to get ready," Acta said.
In his only start this season, Tomlin allowed seven hits and four earned runs over five innings against the White Sox.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.