DETROIT -- The Indians are expecting to have Grady Sizemore back in the lineup in September and manager Manny Acta firmly believes the center fielder's return will provide the team with an instant boost.
The goal right now for Cleveland is to keep pecking away at Detroit's lead in the American League Central over the next couple of weeks. That way, the Tribe will be in a position to make the most of Sizemore's potential impact.
"I am anticipating him helping us out," Acta said on Sunday at Comerica Park. "Our main thing is try to finish strong this month and be as close or on top by the time that Grady can come in."
Sizemore has been sidelined since July 17 with a right knee injury and the center fielder also underwent a sports hernia operation on July 21. He is currently rehabbing both issues in Cleveland. Sizemore has progressed to long toss with his throwing program and soft toss in his hitting workouts.
If everything goes according to plan, Sizemore could resume game activities by early September, according to Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff. After that, it might not be long before Sizemore is back in the starting lineup and manning center field for Cleveland.
Acta is excited about that possibility.
"People really at times forget how good Grady is," Acta said. "This guy, he makes an impact in your lineup even when he's not on top of his game."
Sizemore -- while fighting through the knee and groin issue -- has only posted a .237 average through 61 games this season, but Acta was quick to note that the center fielder had 10 home runs, 21 doubles and a .769 OPS in only 232 at-bats.
Asdrubal Cabrera leads the Tribe with 20 homers, 27 doubles and an .821 OPS, but the All-Star shortstop had 486 at-bats, entering Sunday. Carlos Santana (18 homers and 25 doubles) and Michael Brantley (23 doubles) had 418 and 442 at-bats, respectively. Matt LaPorta (11 homers) had 301 at-bats and Travis Hafner (11 homers) had 277.
"Grady has 10 homers and 21 doubles and he wasn't even at the top of his game," Acta reminded. "We still have guys that barely have one home run more than Grady and have like 200 more at-bats than he has. That's how good he is. He had an OPS of over .750 hitting .237. So we are anticipating him coming in and helping us out.
"We're just trying to put ourselves in the best position possible so when he comes in it's going to be a big push for us."