Sizemore homers in first regular season game since 2011

Sizemore homers in first regular season game since 2011
March 31, 2014, 9:00 pm
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BALTIMORE -- Grady Sizemore had a magical spring training, but those games didn't count.
     
On the day they started to matter, however, Sizemore's improbable comeback kept getting better.
     
Playing his first regular season game since Sept. 22, 2011, Sizemore went 2-for-4 with a single and a solo homer. The latter accounted for the Red Sox' only run in a frustrating Opening Day 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
     
"He continued doing what he did in spring training," said John Farrell, "and that's showing very good timing at the plate. To see him come up and get a base hit and a home run -- and his last home run (in the big leagues) was here in Camden Yards, so it's pretty ironic that it takes place here once again.''
     
Farrell said that, in the heat of competition, his teammates and coaches didn't show any particular emotion when Sizemore his first homer in more than 2 1/2 seasons.
     
By now, he's being treated like any other player.
     
"We're all competitors," said Farrell. "We've kind of forgotten the story line and what Grady's gone through here as we've started the season. He's one of us, so we're going to be reminded of it with stories that are written. But to see the way he's played all spring training, it's not completely surprising to see what he did today."
     
Even Sizemore allowed himself only a small measure of satisfaction.
     
"It was exciting," said Sizemore. "It's nice to get that first one after going through what I've gone through. It felt nice to be back."
     
Sizemore, who was appearing in a regular season game for the first time in 922 days, said the jitters he experienced before the game were ''no more than normal. I expected to be a little anxious and a little excited, but that was really all I had. I just kind of wanted to get going.''
     
Coming to the plate in the second with Mike Carp on first base, Sizemore rifled a line single to right.
     
"It definitely felt, not like the pressure was off, but it just felt good to get the first (hit) out of the way," he said. "I've been gone for so long and in the first one, I just wanted to have a good at-bat. To get a hit and hit the ball hard felt good."
     
In his next at-bat, he drilled a pitch from Chris Tillman that just cleared the scoreboard in right for his homer, but because the ball wasn't obviously out, he was too busy running hard to realize what had happened.
     
"It broke my bat," said Sizemore of the swing. "I just saw the drop and I thought maybe it had hit off the wall. Then I saw the umpire giving (me the home run signal) and I was shocked more than anything.''
     
Sizemore didn't want to put too much emphasis on one game, especially one that resulted in a defeat for his team. In his mind, he didn't want to attach too much significance to one game.
     
"Every day since spring training has been gratifying," he said. "I'm just happy to be healthy and I look forward to getting the opportunity to play and help contribute."
     
Asked to compare this to his major league debut --July 21, 2004 -- Sizemore made a distinction.
     
"I think your first game, your debut, you're a little nervous," he said. "You're just trying to get your feet wet and get a feel for it. Today was very exciting. I couldn't wait to get to the ballpark. I was up first thing in the morning and I definitely had a better appreciation for the game and all the little things that go into it."