Sizemore to play in one of two Thursday games

Sizemore to play in one of two Thursday games
February 25, 2014, 4:00 pm
Share This Post

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Earlier this week, when asked how soon he might see his first game action this spring, outfielder Grady Sizemore expressed the sort of reservations that one might expect from a player who has missed all of the last two seasons.

Sizemore, though eager to make an impression and begin his comeback, questioned the wisdom of rushing him into games so early in camp, suggesting that it might be better to wait a while before getting him on the field.
The Red Sox, apparently, think otherwise.
On Monday, manager John Farrell announced that Sizemore would take part in one of the two games against college squads -- Boston College or Northeastern -- that will kick off the exhibition schedule for the Red Sox on Thursday.
"We came into camp knowing that we would have to work off his readiness and comfort level,'' explained Farrell. "He's answered everything within the schedule so far. You can see the look on his face and the way he answers questions about fundamentally, the timing at the plate and physically how he's responding. Thursday's not too soon, based on some of the answers he's gotten through the workouts.''
The need to go slowly is "a little bit less than we might have anticipated. We communicate with every player every day, but based on what he's been able to do so far, maybe some of those pressing questions are a little less than we first anticipated.''
"I kind of left it up them,'' said Sizemore of the decision to play. "I've told them from Day 1 that I've felt good, but just because I feel good doesn't mean that they want me out there. So I kind of was going to put it in their hands. If the medical staff and the coaching staff said, 'Hey, you look good, we like what we see, we want you out there,' then I was going to go.
"But if they said, 'You look good and your body's showing signs of improvement but we want to hold you back a week or two,' I would have been fine with that, too. It was one of those things where I'm going to get their feedback, get their judgement and go from there.''
After a little more than two weeks in camp, Sizemore, who has undergone nine surgeries on a myriad of injuries in recent years, feels better than he anticipated.
"Definitely better than expected,'' confirmed Sizemore, who signed a major league deal for $750,000 in base salary plus incentives last month. "I didn't expect to come in here and have continuous days without any issues and be able to keep pushing it and keep up with the volume.''
Still, Sizemore remains intent on "not pushing it, not doing too much too soon,'' in the first weeks here.
When Sizemore takes the field Thursday, it will be his first participation in an organized game since Sept. 22, 2011 with Cleveland.
"It's been a while,'' said Sizemore. "Even then, it wasn't a full season (he played just 71 games), it was off-and-on. So it's been a good two years.''
The game may only be a seven-inning exhibition game against a college team, but for all Sizemore has been through, there's a feeling of accomplishment as it nears.
"It's an exciting day for me,'' he admitted. "Definitely, just being back out there, I'm excited. I can't wait to get there. Obviously, I'm not expecting too much. I'm just trying to go out there and have a good game and just get the feel back, get my timing back.
"But I'm excited to be back out there.''
Nominally, Sizemore is trying to win the center field job away from Jackie Bradley Jr. But for the time being, his goals are modest.
"Obviously, I want to prove to them that I can go out there and play,'' he said. "But again, I'm not trying to do that in one game. I'm just going to go out there and try to get my feet underneath me and get some looks and hopefully get some action out there -- see what it's like to play and get a feel for it.''
In time, the hope is to ramp up his workload. For the time being, however, communication about how his body is responding is paramount.
"There's not a day that I don't have long discussions about I feel and how things are going,'' he said. "I'm getting evaluated every day, whether it's out on the field with the coaches or in the training room with the medical staff. They're keeping a close eye on me.''