Sizemore begins running bases on Sunday

Sizemore begins running bases on Sunday

Sizemore begins running bases on Sunday
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The practice fields at the Indians' player development complex in Arizona are a far cry from a Major League stadium, but one venue will hopefully lead to the other for center fielder Grady Sizemore.

Sizemore heads to one of the diamonds at Cleveland's Minor League facility in Arizona and begins running bases Sunday for the first time since undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee in June. It is a major step in his recovery.

"He's feeling good, guys," said Indians manager Manny Acta.

Sizemore's rehab program includes a baserunning progression over the next week. If everything goes according to plan, Acta said it's possible that he could be cleared for game activities as early as next Sunday.

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Then again, Acta did not want to give an exact date for Sizemore's debut.

"Some time between March 20 and March 30 he could be in games," Acta said.

It has yet to be determined whether Sizemore would make his game debut in a Cactus League or Minor League setting. The Indians would have more flexibility in a Minor League game, such as using him as a leadoff hitter every inning or being able to stop play, for example.

Up to this point, Sizemore has worked through various sprint and agility drills while routinely taking part in batting practice. Last week, Sizemore added outfield drills to his program. He has tested his knee with movement in all directions and has gradually increased the intensity of the exercises along the way.

It is unlikely that Sizemore will be ready to break camp with Cleveland in time for Opening Day. The bigger question is whether Sizemore will resemble the aggressive and fast player that both the Indians and fans remember from years past.

The 28-year-old was a 30-30 player for the Tribe in 2008, when he launched 33 homers and stole 38 bases. When Sizemore is able to rejoin the Indians, Acta said the club will not stop the center fielder from running. Those types of decisions will be up to Sizemore.

"Whenever he's ready to play, he's going to have the green light here," Acta said. "And then, that's up to him how good he feels about stealing bases. The only thing I can control for Grady is the volume of his playing time. I don't think I can control how he's going to go about his business."