Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/9/12

Slowly but surely, Johnny Damon is starting to round into baseball shape.

There was more evidence Friday night, as Damon's two-run home run in the seventh inning was one of the big blows in the Indians' 6-2 win over St. Louis.

It has been a long haul for Damon, who joined the Indians on April 17 after a brief stay with the club's extended spring program in Arizona, where he tried to get up to speed after signing a free agent contract following the start of the season. Cleveland manager Manny Acta said it would take Damon some time to get his timing at the plate, and Acta was right.

On May 26, Damon was hitting .153. In his past eight games, however, Damon is hitting .292 with two home runs and seven RBI.

Damon is still hitting just .188, and he continues to get removed from games in the late innings for defense when the Indians are leading. His trial in the leadoff spot was very brief. He now hits in the lower third of the order.

As long as the Indians remain in the race in the AL Central, they probably can afford to continue to wait for Damon to get closer to what they hoped he'd contribute when they signed him. Originally, it appeared that Damon might be the bridge to the return of injured Grady Sizemore, but Sizemore's return from back surgery performed March 1 has been slower than expected.

So Damon continues to get most of the at-bats in left field, where he is used in a semi-platoon with right-handed-hitting Shelley Duncan. At least over the last week, though, Damon has begun to show some signs of life offensively.

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