Johnny Damon #33 of the Cleveland Indians reacts as he...

Johnny Damon #33 of the Cleveland Indians reacts as he pops out to right field against the Houston Astros. (June 23, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

As Indians leftfielder Johnny Damon winds down a stellar career, he wants those who will evaluate his accomplishments to be assured of one thing.

In an era marred by the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, he never relied on anything more than his abundant natural ability.

"I probably could have made a lot more money in this game," he said. "I also know I can put my head on the pillow every night and be happy with my career and know I was truthful about everything.

"I can lay my head down knowing a lot of guys took advantage of the system, but I didn't."

Damon, 38, will merit some Hall of Fame consideration. He played an integral role when the Boston Red Sox broke through to win the World Series in 2004, batting .304 with 123 runs scored. He put together an October to remember five years later, scoring 10 runs in 15 postseason games and batting .364 in the World Series as the Yankees won it all in 2009.

The 18-year veteran got his 2,750th career hit Monday night to go along with 1,660 runs, 406 stolen bases, 234 home runs and 1,133 RBIs. But he knows that a bust in Cooperstown is anything but certain.

"Whether I get in or not, it's not up to me," he said. "I know I played the game fair and clean. I played it hard. I know I have some pretty sick numbers."

Damon also spoke as someone who senses that his time to add to those numbers is growing short.

"If my body goes out at any time this year, I'm going home," he said. "I understand that if you don't produce, they want you to go home."

Damon, who batted sixth for the Indians Monday night, is hitting .203 with 17 runs, three home runs, 13 RBIs and two stolen bases. Damon, who had gone 6-for-15 while hitting safely in four of his previous five games, went 1-for-4 last night with a seventh-inning double.

He went unsigned before agreeing to a one-year deal with the Indians on April 17. "Obviously, it did not help that he did not have spring training," manager Manny Acta said.

Cleveland represents Damon's seventh major-league stop and his fourth in as many years. After four seasons and a championship with the Yankees -- in the key play of Game 4 of the 2009 World Series against the Phillies, he stole two bases on the same pitch -- he played for the Tigers and Rays the next two seasons.

Damon expresses disappointment that the Yankees allowed him to leave, but there is no bitterness. "The only thing I know is I left here a champion," he said. "That is something I'll have forever."

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