D-Train plays recruiter for Damon
On one hand, if you believe Johnny Damon’s statements that Detroit is where he wanted to play all along once he knew he wasn’t heading back to the Yankees, then he shouldn’t have needed much recruiting from Dontrelle Willis. On the other hand, he did call Dontrelle Willis.
Yes, Dontrelle Willis became a recruiter for Damon, even if he didn’t intend to be.
Willis and Damon know each other from Team USA at the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He wasn’t the only player Damon knew on the Tigers; he knows Phil Coke from the Yankees last year, but Coke didn’t have his phone number.
So he called Willis. Damon wanted to ask someone on the club how players and fans would react to his arrival.
“After I got off the phone with him, I was like, ‘This is going to work,’” Damon said. “And we’re expecting bigger things from him. He’s obviously going to battle to get back to form. And even he said, ‘This is a great place to play, you’re going to enjoy it.’ Said all the right things to me, and I was like, ‘Wow.’
“Scott [Boras] called me about two minutes after that and asked if we were good to go. And I said, ‘Absolutely.’”