The Tigers look to win their seventh straight game from the Cleveland Indians as the AL Central rivals meet Friday for the first time this season.
Damon signed a free-agent deal with Detroit (2-1) in February, settling for a one-year contract. He hit .282 last season with the New York Yankees, tying a career-high with 24 homers and 82 RBIs.
When he joined Detroit, Damon said, “this is where (he) wanted to be.”
“I will be just as excited as I was the first opening day I ever took part in,” he said Thursday. “It will be the first time most of those fans will get to see me in person as a Tiger. They got to hear a lot about spring training and leading up to my signing, and what was taking forever.”
The Tigers are hoping Damon can provide some of that power he displayed with New York after dealing Curtis Granderson(notes) to the Yankees as part of a three-way trade. Damon had a solid debut Monday with two hits and two RBIs in a series-opening win over Kansas City, but went 0 for 9 the next two games.
The Tigers won 7-3 on Thursday in the series finale.
He won’t be the only Detroit player fans will be eager to see. Rick Porcello(notes) takes the mound after an impressive rookie season in which he went 14-9 and had a 3.96 ERA, but closed on a sour note.
With the AL Central title hanging in the balance, Porcello got the start in a one-game playoff against Minnesota on October 6, allowing two runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. Detroit lost 6-5 in 12 innings.
The right-hander led AL rookies last year in wins, and was 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts against Cleveland, all won by the Tigers.
Following some legal trouble late last season, Miguel Cabrera(notes) appears to have righted himself. He’s gone 8 for 14 with two homers and seven RBIs in his first three games, and drove in four runs Thursday.
Cabrera had at least one hit in all nine home games versus Cleveland in 2009, batting .406.
This will be the first time Cabrera and Detroit have faced David Huff(notes), who went 11-8 with a 5.61 ERA in 23 starts as a rookie in 2009. He led the Indians in victories despite making his major-league debut on May 17.
Cleveland (2-1) is looking to win its third straight. After losing its season opener 6-0 to the White Sox on Monday, the team recorded back-to-back 5-3 victories with Thursday’s win coming in 11 innings.
Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) drove in the go-ahead run with two outs and Grady Sizemore(notes) recorded his third RBI in the game with a double for the final run. Sizemore went 3 for 6 after driving in two runs Wednesday.
The Indians dropped their first five games last season en route to going 65-97 and finishing fourth in the division.
“We just wanted to get off to a good start,” Sizemore said. “Chicago got us in Game 1 but we bounced back and played real well these last two games. We just want to get momentum going and carry that through. We’ve already forgotten about last year.”
Sizemore is batting .333 during a five-game hitting streak in Detroit.