Sizemore passing all physical tests to be everyday player

Sizemore passing all physical tests to be everyday player
March 21, 2014, 2:45 pm
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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Even when he's not in the lineup or on a road trip, Grady Sizemore seems to dominate Red Sox news.
Sizemore, who played Wednesday and Thursday and will be off Friday and Saturday before playing three straight days beginning Sunday, is continuing his bid to break camp with the Sox when they leave Florida a week from Saturday.
Manager John Farrell wouldn't commit to a roster spot for Sizemore just yet, but he did hint that there are fewer and fewer physical question marks surrounding the outfielder and his ability to be a major league regular again after missing all of the last two seasons.
"We have every reason to believe at this point," said Farrell, "that he is a likely candidate to become an everyday player with durability on his side at some point. What I mean by that is, there's a progression that we're still following to get to everyday play but the encouraging thing is he's not hit the proverbial wall, where we've bumped up against the limits, now we have to pull back. We haven't reached that yet, which is extremely positive."
Asked if all that stood between Sizemore and making the team was getting through the upcoming set of games, Farrell said: "I'm not ready to get to that point yet. We need to get through this coming week first."
And yet, as Farrell acknowledged, there's no denying the progress.
"The medical exams, the medical information is guiding us with a progression," said Farrell. "But every piece of feedback from the medical staff has been positive with the end thought that he'll become an everyday player (again)."
When spring training began, the Sox were unsure of what Sizemore was capable of physically. But five weeks later, they're pleased with what they've seen.
"There's no template," said Farrell. "That's why we've got experts on our medical staff to give us that guidance."
Physical tests aside, the Sox have also been impressed by his performance. Several scouts have marveled that Sizemore hardly looks like a player who didn't play at all the last two seasons.
"Totally agree, totally agree," said Farrell. "We saw that (early in camp) in live BP. It's pretty amazing, given the time missed, it just speaks to his athleticism and a low maintenance swing. We look at the way he's playing the game. Everything is reactionary at this point. There's no measured steps. He's playing instinctually, so we don't see him favoring anything in the knees or otherwise."
The Sox have consistently timed Sizemore at 4.3 seconds down the first base line, and at times, he's been at 4.2 seconds.
"That," said Farrell, "is getting close to his speed when he was fully healthy."
Still, there's a degree of uncertainty, since several weeks of spring training can't prove everything.
"To say that we have an absolute read on his durability, that's not true," admitted Farrell. "We don't have a 162 games in spring training to say that he's going to pass the test."
If Sizemore were to make the roster, the Sox would have to factor in some regular rest for him, especially early in the season.
"There would be a recommended number of games played per week," said Farrell, "so how we adjust that based on matchups, that would certainly be factored in because we're looking to put the best team on the field every night, with the intent of trying to win every night. So if rest is built in, we'll factor in everything that's at our disposal."