CINCINNATI -- The Indians are hoping that Grady Sizemore is on the verge of freeing himself from a brutal month-long slump.
During Friday night's 8-2 rout of the Reds, Sizemore went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and an RBI double. More important, Indians manager Manny Acta saw improvement with Sizemore's mechanics during his plate appearances, though the results didn't translate as fluently on Saturday as Sizemore went hitless in four at-bats during a 3-1 win.
"He was able to not swing around the ball," Acta said prior to the game, referring specifically to the at-bat in which Sizemore doubled. "He kept his hands inside of it, put the fat part of the bat on the ball and got a huge hit for us."
Sizemore posted a .313 (5-for-16) average with three extra-base hits over four games leading into Saturday. In his previous 26 games, dating back to his activation from the 15-day disabled list on May 27, the center fielder hit just .177 (17-for-96) with one homer, six doubles and nine RBIs.
Acta has noted that one of Sizemore's issues has been handling inside fastballs. The center fielder was striding too far toward home plate before swinging. That was making inside pitches harder to handle.
"He's been working hard, man," Acta said. "He's trying to keep his hands inside the ball."