CLEVELAND -- Grady Sizemore tried to rush back and return to the Indians' lineup as quickly as possible last season. His injured back felt good, but it wasn't all the way healed.
The center fielder returned for 10 games last September after missing half of July and all of August. Sizemore then headed back to the disabled list, where he has remained through the first two months of this season.
"I tried [rushing back] last year, and it didn't help me at all," Sizemore said. "I ended up just putting myself in a worse position. What I've gone through is why we're taking it slow now. It's important to not just feel good, but feel really good, great."
Indians manager Manny Acta said Monday that Sizemore is still not close to a rehab assignment. Sizemore has yet to run the bases, and there's currently no timetable for his return.
"Anything could be realistic," Sizemore said. "I couldn't even tell you what I'll be doing next week. ... It just depends on how I feel. I feel good, but it's still in a controlled environment. For me, the test will be how I feel when I'm out there playing, where I just have to react. When I know which way I'm going, it's a lot easier."
While it's sometimes hard for him, Sizemore said he still watches many of Cleveland's games. He's pleased with the way the team has started the season without him, especially his replacement in center -- Michael Brantley.
Sizemore was watching when Brantley robbed Chicago's Alex Rios of a home run on Saturday.
"It was pretty impressive," Sizemore said. "Those are things I used to be able to do."
Feeling better, Asdrubal talks way into lineup
CLEVELAND -- When Asdrubal Cabrera walked into the Indians' clubhouse Tuesday afternoon and saw the lineup card didn't include his name, he went straight to manager Manny Acta's office.
"I told him I want to play," Cabrera said.
Acta said he wanted to make sure his star shortstop wasn't trying to be a hero in May. After Cabrera assured Acta his tight hamstring was feeling better, Acta added Cabrera to Tuesday night's lineup as the designated hitter. He batted third against the Royals, singling in his first at-bat.
Cabrera left Friday's game at Chicago with the hamstring injury, and missed the next three games.
"He's pain free," Acta said. "He ran the bases well and he was very adamant that he has no issues whatsoever."
Acta said he expects Cabrera to start at shortstop on Wednesday. Entering Tuesday, Cabera was hitting a team-best .301 with five home runs and 20 RBIs.
Travis Hafner (knee) and Carlos Santana (concussion) remained out of the lineup for Tuesday's game. Hafner took batting practice on the field Tuesday afternoon, but Acta said Hafner's still not 100 percent with his running.
"I anticipate having him available off the bench if I need him," Acta said.
Santana was cleared to begin doing cardio activities, and Acta said he continues to make progress. Santana is eligible to come off the seven-day concussion list this weekend.
Indians awaiting word on fate of Hernandez
CLEVELAND -- Another domino has fallen, but it remains unclear how much longer it will be before Roberto Hernandez is granted permission to return to the United States from the Dominican Republic in order to pitch for the Indians.
Over the weekend, Marlins pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo -- mired for eight months in a similar false-identity situation as Hernandez -- received a visa from the U.S. and reported to Miami's complex in Jupiter, Fla., on Monday. It is not known at this point whether the resolution of Oviedo's case will expedite the process for Hernandez.
"They're in the same type of situation," Indians manager Manny Acta said recently. "So I guess it'll have some type of influence on it."
Major League Baseball handed Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez) an eight-week suspension in light of the identity-fraud issue. The Indians are hopeful that the fact that they drastically restructured Hernandez's contract will help the pitcher avoid a suspension, or at the very least avoid such a lengthy punishment.
For now, Cleveland continues to keep tabs on Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) as he works through a throwing program in the D.R.
"We continue to be in touch with his representatives," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "But there's no real news to report. It's still in the hands of the State Department. He's working out at our complex in the Dominican."
Hernandez signed with the Indians as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican in December 2000, when the team thought he was 17. Over six seasons with the Tribe, the right-hander has gone 53-66 with a 4.59 ERA. In 2011, he served as the Indians' Opening Day starter, but he ended the year 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA in 32 outings.
On Jan. 19, Hernandez was arrested outside the American consulate in Santo Domingo, D.R., when he was attempting to renew his visa to report to Spring Training with the Tribe. Hernandez, whose birth date was listed as Dec. 7, 1983, when he used Carmona's identity, was actually born on Aug. 30, 1980.
In a recent interview, Antonetti said the process of getting Hernandez back to the United States has not necessarily gone on longer than the Indians expected.
"Not really. We didn't really have any expectations," Antonetti said. "We understood the complexities of the process from the very beginning. Really, as I've communicated to you guys, we didn't really have any sort of expectations on a time frame. So to say it's either exceeded or been beyond, I'm not sure that's very fair."
Quote to note
"I've been doing this kind of stuff since college, honestly. It's just something that gets me fired up. You can interview some [University of] North Carolina guys that aren't too happy with me still about stuff I did in college. That's just how I am."
--Indians closer Chris Perez, on celebrating after striking out Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson in Monday's 8-5 win
Lou Marson remained out of the lineup on Tuesday for the second straight game due to a facial laceration. Marson was hit in the left side of his mouth by a pitch in the fourth inning on Sunday against the White Sox. The catcher said he is still experiencing pain when putting on a mask, and the Indians did not want to risk having a foul tip re-open a wound that needed three stitches. Marson remains day to day.
On Tuesday, the Indians named Class A Carolina infielder Tony Wolter the organization's Minor League Player of the Week for the period of May 21-27. During that span, the 19-year-old Wolters (a third-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft) hit .429 (9-for-21) with two doubles, two walks, one RBI and a 1.002 OPS.
Left-hander Rafael Perez, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a strained left lat, is currently working through a long-toss program to build arm strength before moving back to mound work. Perez will be eligible to be activated on June 25.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Justin Albers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.