CLEVELAND -- With less than an hour remaining before the Indians faced the Red Sox on Wednesday, Grady Sizemore took to the basepaths. There, the sidelined star center fielder tested his ailing right knee.
Sizemore came away from the drill fine and is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list for the upcoming weekend series against the Rays.
"He went out there and ran the bases and felt good," manager Manny Acta said after his team's 14-2 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday. "We're going to make a decision. I'm expecting him to be ready to join us this weekend."
After Wednesday's loss, rookie outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was seen shaking hands with multiple teammates inside the Indians' clubhouse. Carrera would be the most likely player to be optioned back to Triple-A Columbus in order to clear room on the roster for Sizemore.
Sizemore, who has been on the DL since May 16, did two laps around the bases before retreating to the clubhouse. With head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff watching, Sizemore did two sets of home to first base, first to third, and third to home with timed breaks between each burst.
"I felt good," Sizemore said. "I was running the bases with no problem. Everything went well."
The Indians have a scheduled off-day on Thursday, which is when Sizemore is eligible to be activated. The team has remained hopeful that he could return for a three-game road series this weekend against the Rays, but Soloff said earlier this week that such a move was "not a foregone conclusion."
Acta would not confirm that Sizemore would be in the lineup on Friday.
"I'm not going to give you the date," Acta said. "We haven't made the decision. We're expecting him to join us for the weekend, but the weekend stretches all the way from Friday through Sunday."
Sizemore injured his left knee during a hard slide into second base during the sixth inning of a game against Tampa Bay on May 10. His stint on the 15-day DL is retroactive to May 11.
In 18 games this season, Sizemore has hit .282 with six home runs, 10 doubles, 11 RBIs and 15 runs scored. He was limited to only 33 games last season due to an unrelated left knee injury, making his initial return to Cleveland on April 17 this year.
Sizemore said the biggest issue he faces is regaining his timing at the plate.
"I still feel good," Sizemore said, "but there's nothing I can do in the cage or out on the field in BP that's going to simulate the timing of a big league at-bat. So there's definitely going to be an adjustment period."
Struggling at plate, Santana out of Tribe lineup
CLEVELAND -- The lineup card that hangs outside the Indians' clubhouse did not have Carlos Santana listed among the starting nine on Wednesday. It marked the second time in three games that the slumping catcher received a day off.
Santana's struggles are beginning to look like more than just an early-season aberration.
"I'm concerned," manager Manny Acta said on Tuesday night, "because I do want a guy like him to produce. He did look like he was coming out of it and he has scuffled a little bit as of late.
"He's still hanging in there with over 20 RBIs and six home runs and all that, but we feel we can get more out of him."
Through 43 games, Santana has hit just .203 (30-for-148) with six homers and 21 RBIs. Along the way, the catcher has had nearly as many walks (32) as strikeouts (33), putting up a respectable .341 on-base percentage under the circumstances.
In Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Red Sox, Santana went 0-for-3 to increase his current drought at the plate to 19 at-bats and 24 plate appearances. His last hit came on May 17, when the catcher came through with a seventh-inning single on the road against the Royals.
Through it all, Acta has kept the talented young hitter in the Tribe's cleanup spot.
Santana's offensive woes go beyond just this season, though. The catcher impressed with a .313 average through his first 20 games for the Indians in 2010. Since then, however, Santana has hit just .209 (49-for-235) over a span of 69 games, dating back to July 3 a year ago.
"We're being patient and handling it the best way we can until he can come out of it," Acta said.
Talbot activated from DL; Judy demoted
CLEVELAND -- As expected, the Indians activated right-hander Mitch Talbot from the 15-day disabled list in order to have him start against the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field.
To clear room on the active roster, Cleveland optioned rookie reliever Josh Judy to Triple-A Columbus.
Talbot had been on the disabled list since April 17 with a right elbow strain, but he had no lingering issues during a Minor League rehab assignment. The right-hander opened the season as the Tribe's fifth starter and went 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his first two outings before being shelved.
In his previous start, Talbot logged eight shutout innings on the road against the Angels on April 11.
Judy, 25, was promoted from Columbus on Saturday after Indians starter Alex White landed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained ligament in his right middle finger. Judy gave the bullpen an extra arm for four days and made his Major League debut in Sunday's game against the Reds.
In that one-inning outing, Judy allowed no runs on two hits, finishing with one strikeout against Cincinnati's Fred Lewis. Judy was a 34th-round selection by Cleveland in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
Since switching to the same bat model used by outfielder Michael Brantley, Indians outfielder Travis Buck has hit .324, with two homers and seven RBIs in 10 games. Prior that stretch, Buck was hitting only .136 in seven games for the Tribe. Buck had been using Brantley's bats until a receiving an order for the same bat type recently. "I'm just trying to be a good teammate," Brantley said with a smile.
Injured starter Alex White, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday due to a sprained ligament in his right middle finger, will remain in Cleveland for the next two weeks. He then will spend the following month at the club's Spring Training site in Goodyear, Ariz., before likely rejoining the Indians to continue his rehab in July.
The Indians have gone 11-7 in one-run games this season. In his managerial career, Cleveland skipper Manny Acta has a 90-94 record in one-run affairs. That includes his time managing the Nationals in 2007-09 and his time with the Tribe in 2010-11. Overall, Acta owned a record of 257-361, entering Wednesday.
The Indians entered Wednesday looking for their second home series win over the Red Sox this season. Cleveland has not claimed two home sets against Boston in the same season since 1996.