Damon, 33, was 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk in three plate appearances against the Devil Rays before being replaced in center field by Melky Cabrera for the sixth inning.
"It was pretty bad," Damon said. "I felt my calf in the first inning, and as the game went on, it kept cramping on me to a point that I couldn't run and get a ground ball or fly ball. The best thing for the team was to get me out of there and get someone who actually could [run]."
Damon batted .285 with 24 home runs and 80 RBIs in 149 games for New York in 2006. Damon said that -- cognizant of the gametime temperature of 48 degrees -- he had consumed extra bottles of water before the game and conducted extra stretching, hoping to ward off just this occurrence.
"It's just those amazing calves," Damon said. "I don't know what to do. I've had this problem in my career. It just happened to be on Opening Day this year."
Damon said he had left a game two seasons ago with the Red Sox due to "calf issues," but he cautioned that it should not remain a concern.
Damon said that he would come in to Yankee Stadium on the team's scheduled off-day Tuesday for treatment, but he said he was fine with that arrangement if it works him into the lineup for Wednesday.
"It's nothing for the team or any of the fans to worry about," Damon said. "Hopefully we can control it, and hopefully this doesn't happen again."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.