Just spoke to Johnny Damon, who called me on his way to the ballpark. Damon said he still hadn't made his final decision on whether he would come to the Red Sox or stay with the Tigers, but said he was still leaning toward staying with the Tigers.
There's one big but, however: The one way he could wind up in Boston is if in the next few hours Damon will ask Tiger management for an honest answer on his playing time the rest of the way. If the Tigers decide to go with younger players the rest of the way Damon said he would be inclined to come back to Boston.
Damon expects to have "a few conversations" with Detroit management and manager Jim Leyland this afternoon, where he'll get an idea of what the Tigers have planned for him the rest of the year.
"I think we're still in this," Damon said of the Tigers. "But I've got to know whether they're going to keep playing me or whether they're going to go with the younger guys. If I'm not going to play as much, the decision is a no-brainer."
Damon said that both David Ortiz and Jason Varitek have called him urging him to come to the Red Sox for the stretch drive.
"Papi is very excited," said Damon. "He thinks I could make quite a difference. I love those guys. They know that. But I'm trying to make the best decision for myself and my family."
Damon said he has had no contact with Red Sox management and said he has no idea whether the Red Sox were just trying to block him from going toTampa Bay or whether there is genuine interest in having him on the team.
He did say he knew there was interest by the Rays in him.