KANSAS CITY -- Manny Acta relaxed on the dugout bench at Kauffman Stadium prior to the Indians' batting practice Friday, and he looked like a man free of worry.
Although Cleveland's offense struggled in a 1-4 start with a .176 batting average, Acta maintains the Indians' attack is better than it was last season. Acta is confident that regulars, such as Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley, will come around. Kipnis went into the road opener against Kansas City 2-for-21 while Brantley was 1-for-17.
Casey Kotchman was another struggling hitter (2-for-21) and Shin-Soo Choo was 3-for-18.
Acta cautioned against reading too much into such a small sample size.
"[Kipnis] looks like he's in between a little bit with his swing," Acta said. "Every one of these guys is going to get better. We all know that. They're not .190 hitters."
Acta was encouraged that Brantley managed to draw four walks on the five-game homestand while stationed in the leadoff spot.
"He's going to be OK," Acta said. "He has shown enough flashes."
Tribe mum on Damon; veteran in great shape
KANSAS CITY -- The Johnny Damon topic of conversation has turned from whether he'll sign with the Indians to how long it will take the 38-year-old Damon to get ready after sitting out Spring Training.
The Indians have yet to acknowledge the deal, but Damon did in an interview on the MLB Network Radio channel on Sirius XM. Damon said in the interview he's in great shape and has been hitting, running, throwing and even playing soccer. But he hasn't seen Major League pitching since last season and would likely need time honing his skills in extended spring games.
Indians manager Manny Acta will not directly address the Damon situation until the deal becomes official. But Acta said, in general, that each player is different in regards to how much time it takes to get ready for Major League competition.
"It depends on the guy," Acta said. "It depends on the genes ... "
The Indians struggled offensively through the opening week, and Damon has always been a proficient hitter. Damon could give Cleveland another option in left field along with Shelley Duncan, at least until the return of Grady Sizemore, who is recovering from lower back surgery.
Damon's contract will reportedly be worth $1.25 million in base salary and another $1.4 million in performance bonuses. Whether he would be able to pay a dividend on that investment before the end of April is a point of conjecture.
Time restraints make for quick Lowe warmup
KANSAS CITY -- Indians right-hander Derek Lowe had an unusual warmup session before Friday's start against the Royals.
Because the Royals' home-opening pregame ceremony temporarily resulted in crowded conditions in the Indians' bullpen as people waited to come onto the field, Lowe said he didn't throw his first warmup pitch until 3:03 p.m. CT for the scheduled 3:10 p.m. start.
Working rapidly, Lowe still managed to get in his usual 36 warmup pitches.
"I've played long enough where I understand a warmup is just a warmup, but it was definitely not your normal one," Lowe said.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.