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02/04/10 2:20 PM EST

Sizemore moves on from picture episode

Tribe outfielder ready to rebound from injury-filled 2009

CLEVELAND -- Grady Sizemore says he's back to being the picture of health.

But it's a different set of pictures that defined his offseason.

In November, while Sizemore was recuperating from September surgeries that addressed his left elbow and lower abdominal wall, semi-nude photographs of him surfaced on the Internet. The photos were all taken by Sizemore and intended only for the eyes of his girlfriend. But he said they leaked after somebody hacked into her e-mail account.

"Right now, I'm doing everything I can to put it behind me," Sizemore said Thursday. "We all know what happened. I never intended for any of this to be public. This is a private matter, and I apologize that we're even here talking about it right now."

Of course, in this day and age, little involving those in the limelight remains private. Sizemore, who was in town to present an award at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards, considers the experience a lesson learned.

"It's embarrassing," he said. "You don't want intimate photos of yourself out there. ... It's scary something like this can happen. But at the same time, it's not like we were out there trying to advertise ourselves or anything like that."

For that reason, Sizemore is apologetic only to a certain degree.

"I don't feel I did anything wrong," he said. "This was something that was shared between me and my girlfriend. I'm sorry that I have to involve the Indians' organization and the fans in all of this."

When the photos leaked online, Sizemore contacted MLB officials to try to prevent the pictures from spreading. But once they're out there, they're out there for all to see.

As far as catching the hacker is concerned, Sizemore said he alerted authorities to what had transpired, but he was vague about the results.

"When everything happened, the proper authorities were involved and handled it appropriately," he said. "The proper authorities handled it as best they could. I let them handle it and went about my business."

Sizemore's business involved the rehab program that he says has him at 100 percent and ready for Spring Training. He has initiated baseball activities and isn't anticipating much, if any, lag behind his teammates in camp.

The 2009 season was Sizemore's worst at the Major League level. His batting average (.248), on-base percentage (.343) and slugging percentage (.445) were all career lows for a full season. The nagging groin issue, which forced him out of the World Baseball Classic, contributed to him stealing just 13 bases after swiping 38 in 2008. The elbow issue noticeably affected him on throws from the outfield.

With the Indians out of contention by the All-Star break, the struggles of Sizemore, a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner who won the Silver Slugger Award in '08, were a bit less magnified than they might have been. He spent three weeks on the disabled list in June but wasn't shut down for surgery until Sept. 4. He said he has no regrets about trying to play through the pain.

"It was my goal to stay in there as long as I could," he said.

The 27-year-old Sizemore has quickly become one of the elder statesmen in the Tribe clubhouse, as many of his fellow core players have been traded away. A leadership role doesn't necessarily suit his quiet tendencies, but he said it's a role he's ready to take on. He is not, however, anticipating any extra pressure after his down year.

"I always feel like I want to prove myself to my teammates on the field," he said. "I don't feel I have to prove anything more than I have in previous years. I'm just trying to get healthy, get back on the field and help my team."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.