Sizemore doubtful to be in Opening Day lineup

Sizemore doubtful to be in Opening Day lineup

Sizemore doubtful to be in Opening Day lineup
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It has been clear all spring that Grady Sizemore's chances of being with the Indians on Opening Day were slim.

On Tuesday, general manager Chris Antonetti acknowledged for the first time that the center fielder is unlikely to be ready in time for the Tribe's season opener. Sizemore is currently working through a rehab program after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee in June

"It's still a possibility," Antonetti said. "But I would say it's less likely than more likely [that Sizemore will be ready] for the start of the season. We're hopeful it'll still be near the start of the season, whether that's a few days or a few weeks, we just don't know yet."

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Cleveland is three games into its Cactus League schedule, but there is still no established timetable for Sizemore's spring debut. The center fielder needs to pass a number of tests before the Indians will give him the go-ahead to join the lineup or roam the outfield again.

Indians manager Manny Acta said Antonetti's admission that Sizemore is unlikely to be ready in time for Opening Day will have little affect on Spring Training right now.

"We had to be prepared for that," Acta said. "But over the next two weeks, I don't think it changes anything, because he wasn't going to be out there anyway. We'll just continue to take a look at those guys we have out there."

Right now, Sizemore is limited to taking batting practice and he has been participating in sprint and agility drills. He has yet to add quick turns to his running program and the Indians have not had him run the bases or do outfield exercises yet, either.

"There's a number of things that he needs to work through," Antonetti said. "There's a number of things he needs to do in terms of changing direction, both in outfield drills as well as running the bases, that he still needs to accomplish before he's cleared to play."

Antonetti added that Sizemore has looked strong in the batter's box.

"We've been really encouraged with what we've seen," Antonetti said. "His batting practice has been as good or better than it's been at any point in the past. His ability to use the whole field, he hit a couple balls out of the ballpark the opposite way the other day. That shows his legs are underneath him.

"He feels good taking batting practice and doing a lot of the baseball activities. It's just a question of when he'll get to that point from a running standpoint that he'll be able to fully participate."

Sizemore, 28, was limited to only 33 games last season for the Indians. He had the microfracture procedure performed by Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo., on June 4 and the Indians have taken an extremely conservative approach with the outfielder's recovery.

If Sizemore is not ready in time for Opening Day, he could potentially begin the season in extended spring training or on a Minor League rehab assignment while on the 15-day disabled list.

"It would really depend on where he is in his progression and what he's able to do in that point," Antonetti said. "I'm not trying to be intentionally vague. It's just this is an uncommon surgery with not quite as clear of a progression.

"So we need to see how Grady meets each of those benchmarks and then adjust his timetable accordingly."