MESA, Ariz. -- The chances of Grady Sizemore garnering enough spring at-bats to be deemed ready for Opening Day remain extremely slim. That does not mean the Indians are ready to rule him out for the start of the regular season.
Asked if Sizemore was ruled out for the season opener, Indians manager Manny Acta said he simply could not make that claim with three weeks remaining in Spring Training.
"It's not a foregone conclusion, no," Acta said during the club's workout on Thursday morning. "Until he's ready to get on the field and we can gauge how many at-bats we will be able to get him before Opening Day, we can't announce that decision."
The fact remains that there is no established timetable for when Sizemore might make his Cactus League debut this spring. Sizemore is currently rehabbing from microfracture surgery on his left knee and is still likely at least one week away from his first possible game action.
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Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff noted earlier this week that Sizemore might begin a baserunning progression on Saturday or Sunday. On Friday, Sizemore will step up to the plate and face live pitching from Cleveland right-hander Anthony Reyes, who is coming back from a bout with mild elbow soreness.
Acta made it clear that the Indians are not looking too far ahead when it comes to Sizemore's rehab schedule.
"We're day to day," Acta said. "As cliche as it might sound, with Grady it's day to day. Every time he comes out here and stretches his workout regime a little bit, you have to wait until the next day to see how he responds. Everything has been good so far.
"He's doing the outfield drills and going through the whole workout, which is an improvement. Running the bases will be the next step. I think by next week he's probably going to be able to do it."
Sizemore, who played just 33 games last year before undergoing the knee surgery in June, has been limited to sprint and agility drills on soft ground up to this point. He has been taking batting practice and playing catch as well. Sizemore's baserunning program might last at least a week.
When Sizemore is cleared for a return to games, Acta said it would likely be in a Cactus League scenario. In a Minor League game setting, Cleveland would have more control over Sizemore's at-bats, but Acta said the quality of pitching in Major League games would help the team gauge his progress.
"When he's ready to play, it doesn't have to be Minor Leagues," Acta said. "The Major League field is probably going to be easier for him with guys having better command and stuff like that."