Johnny Damon was back in the Boston lineup last night -- the only reminders of his outfield collision the stitches in his eyelid, the scrape on his cheek and the body outline some Red Sox joker taped to the wall where he hit it.
"I'm not even worried about what happened last night," said Damon, who was knocked unconscious during the 2003 playoffs after a head-to-head collision with 2B Damian Jackson. "I know that wall's not as tough as Damian Jackson. That's all I needed to know."
A taped body outline was on the Boston bullpen wall during batting practice before the game against the Orioles, right where Damon ran into it on Tuesday while pursuing Jay Gibbons's line drive. Damon hit the angled fence that forms the right field side of Fenway's deep-center triangle.
Damon received four stitches on his right eyelid; he also had a quarter-sized scratch on his cheek and bruised knee. There were no symptoms of a concussion, he said.
"He's a tough kid," Manager Terry Francona said. "He played last year so many times when I didn't expect it."
* PUDGE IS NO SOFTIE: Ivan Rodriguez was in the lineup for the Tigers against Texas, one day after breaking his right hand. He went 1 for 4.
The all-star catcher was injured when he was hit by a foul tip in the ninth inning on Tuesday. He played last night with padding covering the hairline fracture at the bottom of his thumb and index finger.
"It doesn't hurt," Rodriguez said. "I can swing the bat. I can throw. As long as it doesn't bother me, I can go play."
* GONZALEZ HEADED TO DL: Juan Gonzalez's latest comeback lasted three pitches. It will be a while before he sees another one.
Gonzalez returned to Cleveland for tests after straining his right hamstring Tuesday in Minnesota. The fragile outfielder, a two-time AL MVP who has spent most of the past three years rehabbing a variety of injuries, got hurt in the first inning trying to beat out a grounder in his first major league at-bat in more than a year.
He never made it to first base, turning right, dropping his head and heading directly into the Indians' dugout. It's the same hamstring he hurt at the end of spring training.
The Indians said Gonzalez will be placed on the disabled list -- his 12th career trip there.
-- From News Services