Sizemore's homer more proof he's ready for Opening Day

Sizemore's homer more proof he's ready for Opening Day
March 26, 2014, 12:15 am

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- It's close enough now that Grazy Sizemore can almost taste it. But he won't.

There's a very good chance Sizemore will open the season next Monday as the Red Sox starting center fielder, which would be his first appearance in a regular-season, major-league game since the middle of September in 2011.

But Sizemore won't allow himself to think about how special that might be. Not yet, anyway.

"Honestly, it's just looking to the next day," Sizemore said Tuesday after the Sox held off Tampa Bay, 4-2. "I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself, trying to focus on the next game and staying healthy and staying on the program I'm on.

"You can't [think about playing in a big-league game soon]. You can't get too far ahead . . . But the more I'm out there, the more comfortable I feel."

Before Tuesday's game, John Farrell was handicapping the center-field battle between Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr., and noted that in the final days of the competition, the Red Sox wouldn't be micro-analyzing every at-bat.

Just in case they do, however, Sizemore gave the Red Sox one more positive to evaluate -- his first homer of the spring, a long two-run belt to right off Tampa Bay lefty Cesar Ramos in the sixth inning.

"It felt good," said Sizemore with a smile. "I'm just trying to have good swings and I feel like I'm seeing the ball good and having good at-bats. I just want to keep putting those together, regardless of whether it's a righty or lefty. I just want to continue to build off each day."

"He got a first-pitch fastball from a left-hander and put a really good swing on it," said Farrell. 'We've talked a number of times this spring about timing at the plate and he continues to show it. The way we've seen the ball come off the bat, you're seeing it more and more and I think he's starting to use his legs a little bit more at the plate. It was a good day for him."

Sizemore has been able to play a number of nine-inning games without feeling fatigue or soreness, a positive sign.

"It's been good," he said. "Everything's been positive. My body's feeling really good. I just want to keep building off that, put consecutive days together and continue with the success.

"I didn't expect to feel this good or to feel this comfortable so soon. So I'm happy with that aspect."

While Sizemore continues to sizzle, Bradley slumps. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Tuesday, dropping his batting average for the spring down to .173.

"He's missing pitches in the strike zone," said Farrell. "I can't say he's trying to do too much. At times, you see him take a compact swing; at times, you see him get a little long at times. It's nothing drastic, just a little bit of timing right now."