Sizemore's ghastly batting average is hardly what you expect from a guy some consider to be an MVP candidate. But any talk of that stat is greeted with the expected -- a half-hearted shrug.
"He's fine," manager Eric Wedge said. "The last two or three games, he's swung real well but hit the ball right at people."
For his part, Sizemore treats Spring Training as little more than a get-the-kinks-out exercise.
"You just try to get your timing back down," said Sizemore, who, for the insatiably curious, hit .323 (21-for-65) last spring. "You're always working to make improvements. You're getting used to playing every day and getting your timing back."
The topic of Sizemore led to a general discussion on what statistics Wedge pays attention to in the spring. Batting average, apparently, isn't one of them.
"I look at at-bats and certain other things, but not average," he said. "We've got a feel for where guys are at. I look at games, innings and at-bats -- making sure guys are getting their work in."
With 14 games under his belt, Sizemore, at the least, is doing that.
Deal or no deal?
Jake Westbrook went six innings Sunday, giving up a pair of runs on five hits with three walks and a strikeout.
Westbrook's agent, Michael Maas, and the Indians have been in discussions about a contract extension, as the right-hander's current deal expires after this year. But all parties involved have been tight-lipped as to whether any progress has been made.
"They're still talking," Westbrook said.
General manager Mark Shapiro has said negotiations will only extend into the season if there is momentum toward a deal.
Up close and personal:
A complete time warp doesn't occur when one steps into Dodgertown. It just feels that way.
The old-school Spring Training facility, which was built for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948, is a mecca for fans who long for baseball's simpler days. Holman Stadium is as unadorned as they come. The home and visiting dugouts, for example, are uncovered and sit just a couple of feet from the stands.
It's a heckler's dream and a player's nightmare. But Wedge said the fans don't bother him here.
"There's so much to hear that you don't hear anything," he said. "Because you can hear everything, you don't hear anything. How's that for a quote?"
The fans seated down either base line aren't looking for quotes. They're seeking autographs, and access in the ballpark and around the facility, where players' and fans' paths often crisscross, couldn't be more open.
"That's part of Spring Training," Wedge said. "There's a lot of access for fans. But this is a little bit extreme."
Those hoping to check out the charm of Dodgertown better do so soon. The Dodgers will join the Indians in departing Florida for a new home in Arizona in 2009.
Exploring all options:
The Indians have talked lately about the possibility of keeping a fifth full-time outfielder to join Sizemore, David Dellucci, Jason Michaels and Trot Nixon. Casey Blake, currently slated to spell Nixon in right on days a left-handed pitcher is on the mound, would become more of a full-time infielder in that instance.
Wedge vaguely explained the rationale behind carrying an extra outfielder but was quick to point out that's not necessarily the direction the club is leaning.
"It would be a different way to go," Wedge said. "You talk about versatility and the potential for more speed. It's a different type of option."
The Indians' remaining options for the job are Ben Francisco, Shin-Soo Choo and Franklin Gutierrez. But if Ryan Garko sticks with the club as a backup first baseman, all three are bound for Triple-A Buffalo.
The Indians' bus, set to head to Vero Beach early Sunday morning, sat in idle about five to 10 minutes longer than anticipated. Francisco slept through his alarm and, after getting a wakeup call from the club, was speeding to the Chain of Lakes complex as if his life depended on it.
Showing up late didn't cost Francisco any playing time Sunday, but he did have to endure quite a bit of good-natured ribbing from his teammates and coaches, all of whom were understanding.
"We've all been there," Wedge said. "It's not a good feeling if you look at the clock and see you're late."
This wasn't the first bus-to-Vero mishap in Indians' history. Former pitcher and current SportsTime Ohio analyst Brian Anderson once forgot to pack his glove and spikes for the two-hour trip -- on the day of a game he was starting
, no less.
The solution? Anderson went to a nearby Wal-Mart to replace the missing items.
Reliever Matt Miller was held out of action Saturday because of cramping in his right elbow. But Wedge said Miller came into camp Sunday morning feeling fine, and he checked out fine with head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff.
It's starting to feel as though the Indians play the Devil Rays more times in Spring Training than they do in-season. The two clubs will face each other for the fifth and final time at 1:05 p.m. ET Monday at Chain of Lakes Park. Left-hander Jeremy Sowers will get one of his last spring tune-ups before embarking upon his sophomore season. He'll oppose right-hander James Shields.