CLEVELAND -- Grady Sizemore was officially welcomed back to Ohio in the spring with a rainout in Akron on Monday. The Indians' center fielder's rehab program has been altered as a result.
Sizemore and right-hander Joe Smith, both on the 15-day disabled list, are now scheduled to play for Triple-A Columbus in an exhibition game against Ohio State on Tuesday. They were originally slated to take part in an exhibition between Columbus and Double-A Akron on Monday.
If everything goes well in their respective performances in the 6:35 p.m. ET game against the Buckeyes, Sizemore and Smith will likely begin an official Minor League rehab assignment with Akron on Thursday. The Aeros host Binghamton at 7:05 p.m. ET on Thursday in Akron.
Sizemore is currently making his way back from the microfracture surgery he had performed on his left knee in June. After 10 months of rehab in Arizona, the center fielder briefly reunited with the Indians on Sunday in Cleveland. The Indians hope Sizemore will be ready to rejoin them before the end of April.
Smith opened this season on the 15-day DL with a strained upper abdominal muscle, which has bothered him since early in Spring Training. The right-hander made five Cactus League appearances before being shut down. The Indians hope to have Smith back in their bullpen within the next couple of weeks.
Healthy Hafner off to good start at the plate
CLEVELAND -- The seats are still there in the second level, but the section is no longer known as "Pronkville." That was in honor of the towering blasts that Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner used to send crashing into that portion of Progressive Field's right-field real estate.
During Saturday's 8-3 loss to the White Sox, Hafner did not find his once-personalized landing spot, but the left-handed-hitting hoss did send a pitch over the wall in right for a second-inning home run. It was a promising start for a player who has fought right shoulder issues in recent seasons.
"It's good to get off to a good start," Hafner said. "I feel good swinging the bat. I'm looking forward to keeping it up."
Hafner, 33, only managed one homer during Spring Training, but Indians manager Manny Acta was encouraged by what he saw from the DH offensively. In 18 Cactus League games, Hafner hit .304 (17-for-56) with four doubles, seven RBIs and eight runs scored.
"Hafner's been fine," Acta said. "He had quality at-bats in Spring Training. He just didn't hit home runs and all that, but he's fine. He's healthy. He's going to be able to get out there more often. In two games so far, he's been good."
The fact that Hafner's shoulder is feeling strong is key. Down the stretch last season, Acta tried not to play the DH more than four games in a row in an effort to ease his fatigued shoulder. There is no such plan for managing Hafner's playing time at the beginning of this season.
"I feel healthy," said Hafner, who hit .278 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs in 118 games for the Indians last season. "When I'm up there, I feel good. I'm seeing the ball good and I've been swinging pretty well."
Inconsistency not in Acta's thinking
CLEVELAND -- When a team fields a young and developing starting rotation, much like the Indians are doing this season, growing pains and inconsistency are usually expected. Indians manager Manny Acta does not view things that way.
"I don't have to expect any inconsistency from anybody," Acta said.
Over the first two games of this season, Indians starters Fausto Carmona and Carlos Carrasco combined to allow 17 runs on 21 hits over 9 2/3 innings. Acta did not express concern. The manager said such outings are bound to occur throughout the course of a 162-game season.
"It's going to happen," Acta said. "That's the name of the game. These guys are going to have 30-35 starts, the starters, if none of them get hurt. They're going to have some good ones and some bad ones. But [inconsistency is] not what I'm expecting."
Right-hander Joe Smith, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained abdominal muscle, rejoined the Indians on Sunday morning. He is scheduled to pitch during an exhibition game between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus in Akron, Ohio, on Monday. He will likely pitch again on Wednesday before officially beginning a Minor League rehab assignment. ... Infielder Jason Donald (on the 15-day DL with a left hand injury) has been fielding ground balls and taking dry swings with a bat. On Monday, Donald is scheduled to begin hitting off a tee. When the Indians hit the road on Friday, Donald might be able to head out on a Minor League rehab assignment. ... Carlos Santana was not in the lineup as Cleveland's catcher for Sunday's game against the White Sox. Instead, Santana got the nod at first base and Lou Marson was behind the plate. Throughout this season, the Indians plan on giving Santana starts at first base and as a designated hitter to keep his legs fresh and his bat in the lineup. ... The Indians have started a season 0-2 for the third time in the past seven years (also in 2005 and 2009). ... Minor League lefty Drew Pomeranz logged five innings for Class A Kinston on Saturday, allowing no runs on one hit with six strikeouts and three walks. ... Entering Sunday, the White Sox had won six games in a row at Progressive Field. ... The Indians have released Minor Leaguer Preston Mattingly, the son of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Cleveland acquired Mattingly in a Minor League deal last September.