No timetable set for Sizemore's return to Tribe
Out with back injury, center fielder won't try to play through it
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Opening Day was always the goal, and Grady Sizemore was well on his way to be recovered from his right knee injury in time to join his Indians teammates in Cleveland for the season's start.
That was until an unfortunate back injury flared two weeks ago.
"I was in a good spot. I was in a really good spot," Sizemore said on Saturday morning. "Things were going good with the knee. This kind of puts a hold on everything. Obviously, it's frustrating. It's nothing I haven't dealt with before. I'm not going to say I'm used to it, but I've gone through it."
Sizemore went through it last spring, when a left knee issue -- unrelated to the injury suffered to the other knee in May -- kept him out of the Opening Day mix. The 29-year-old center fielder is expected to be sidelined once again for this year's Opening Day, on April 5 against the Blue Jays.
The back injury surfaced during fielding drills at the team's Arizona complex a couple of weeks ago and -- after trying to work through discomfort for a few days -- Sizemore was eventually shut down. His return to any kind of baseball activities, or to the home stretch of his knee rehab, is up in the air.
Sizemore is also unsure when he might be ready to rejoin Cleveland's lineup.
"I don't think we're putting a date on it now," Sizemore said. "We just have to wait until it gets healthy, whether that's a week after Opening Day, or two weeks, or whatever. It's a matter of when I feel good and not trying to rush it. We tried to push through it with the rehab and it made it worse."
Over the past three years, Sizemore has averaged just 70 games per season for the Indians due to a variety of health woes. Last year, problems with both knees, along with a sports hernia operation, limited the center fielder to 71 games, during which he hit .224 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs.
Given his recent health history, Sizemore feels the best approach right now is rest.
"Playing through injuries for me in the past hasn't worked out too well," Sizemore said. "So we don't want to ruin myself for an extended period of time when we can try to calm it down in a couple of weeks."
Sizemore believes the Indians are a strong enough team to still enjoy a strong start, even without him in the lineup. Cleveland showed as much last season, when the team roared to a 30-15 record without the center fielder for much of that stretch.
"I expect the same this year," Sizemore said. "I think we've got an even better team this year than we had last year. We still have a lot of work to do, but right now for me it's trying to get healthy.
"Regardless of when I'll be ready, I think I'll be coming into a good situation with a good group of guys who are going to be competing."