Sizemore awed by All-Star experience

Sizemore awed by All-Star experience

PITTSBURGH -- For Grady Sizemore to have little to say is not odd.

If he was a "Seinfeld" character, the popular Sizemore would be the "Low Talker" -- and that's if he talks at all. He's never one to wax poetic about his career. In fact, the topic often seems to bore him.

The situation was no different Tuesday at PNC Park. But even by his own standards, Sizemore had difficulty finding the words to describe the feeling of taking part in his first All-Star Game.

"It's amazing," he said. "I'm speechless. I've just got a grin on my face."

Sizemore let that grin do all the talking for him at the 77th annual Midsummer Classic.

The grin didn't appear to wash away during pregame workouts, roster introductions or his appearance in the game. It was a grin no doubt shared by Sizemore's parents, Grady and Donna, and his younger brother, Corey, who were all in attendance.

"They've been smiling ear to ear," Sizemore said of his family.

So what if his appearance saw him go 0-for-2 at the plate in the American League's 3-2 victory over the National League? Being an All-Star is as much about the pomp and circumstance as it is about the game itself.

But for those chronicling the game itself, Sizemore's appearance didn't include any particularly memorable moments, aside from the thrill of stepping out on the field as a center-field replacement for Vernon Wells in the bottom of the fifth.

"That was the moment I've been waiting for this whole time," he said. "You just take a step and realize what you're doing and where you're at. It's a great feeling."

Sizemore, who entered the break with a .291 average, 15 homers and 43 RBIs, got his first All-Star at-bat when he led off the sixth against Rockies Brian Fuentes, but the deceptive left-hander struck him out.

In the eighth, he hit a scorching grounder to second against the Phillies' Tom Gordon, but it was hauled in for the third out of the inning.

"I was a little more comfortable the second time up," Sizemore said. "But it didn't work out."

OK, so he didn't put in an MVP performance, as he had at the All-Star Futures Game just three years earlier. Sizemore still had a blast.

"I just tried to soak it all in," he said. "Getting to share it with my family was great."

Sizemore wasn't the only Indians player getting attention during the All-Star festivities. More than a few people couldn't help but make note of designated hitter Travis Hafner's absence. The man known as "Pronk" certainly has All-Star credentials -- a .322 average, 25 home runs (including five grand slams) and 74 RBIs chief among them.

"You feel for a guy like Hafner," White Sox slugger Jim Thome said. "When I look at Hafner, I look at him as an All-Star. He's an elite, one of the top three elite hitters in the American League."

But Hafner's only applicable position -- first base -- put him among some tough company, namely Thome, Paul Konerko and starting AL first baseman David Ortiz.

AL manager Ozzie Guillen said it was tough leaving Hafner off, but, given the roster constraints, it would have been even tougher for him to exclude Sizemore.

"I needed a [reserve] center fielder, and I think Sizemore is the best player in the AL Central," Guillen said, reiterating a statement he made last fall. "So I had to pick him."

And for that, a speechless Sizemore was thankful.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.