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03/08/11 6:41 PM ET

Sizemore may soon get green light to run

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It has been 296 days since Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore last ran on the basepaths. After that extended break, Sizemore might finally receive the go-ahead to start running the bases again this weekend.

On Tuesday, Sizemore continued his running program as part of his rehab from microfracture surgery on his left knee. The center fielder recently upped the intensity of his sprint and agility drills and Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff indicated that Sizemore might begin a baserunning progression on Saturday or Sunday.

Sizemore, 28, underwent surgery on his knee in June and is not expected to be recovered in time for Opening Day. Soloff noted recently that Sizemore might be cleared for game activities the week following the completion of his baserunning program.

Mathis gets away clean in Saturday slugfest

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- After the Indians and White Sox engaged in an all-out slugfest on Saturday afternoon, when a strong wind howled out to left field at the Ballpark at Camelback Ranch, one thing jumped out from the box score.

Somehow, Cleveland right-hander Doug Mathis did not allow any runs in his two innings of work.

"That was a miracle," Indians manager Manny Acta said.

Acta's comment was in no way a shot at Mathis' ability on the mound. It was simply astonishing that any pitcher could have lasted that long without suffering any damage. During a game in which Cleveland and Chicago combined for 32 runs on 39 hits, though, Mathis retired the only six batters he faced.

"Partly luck," Mathis said with a laugh, "and partly probably me making a couple good pitches."

One thing is for sure, Mathis' two-inning appearance will be one performance that sticks in Acta's mind this spring. Mathis -- in camp on a Minor League contract -- can only hope that he can continue to have similar success, convincing the Tribe that he can be a valuable part of the bullpen.

Mathis, 27, signed with the Indians in January with the understanding that making the Opening Day roster could be a challenge. If Mathis is informed late in camp that he will not be with Cleveland at the start of the season, he has an out clause in his contract that allows him the option of becoming a free agent.

Mathis is not looking that far ahead right now.

"Obviously I signed here for a reason," Mathis said. "My first priority is to make the team here. This is where I want to be."

Mathis spent the bulk of his Minor League career as a starting pitcher, but had stints as a reliever with the Rangers in each of the past three seasons. In the Majors, the right-hander has gone 3-3 with a 4.84 ERA over 45 career games, including six spot starts along the way.

The Indians view Mathis as a candidate for a long relief role, which appears to be the only clear-cut job available in the bullpen. As things currently stand, Cleveland's 'pen will feature closer Chris Perez, along with righty Chad Durbin and lefties Tony Sipp and Rafael Perez. Joe Smith and Jensen Lewis have a leg up on the competition for two other jobs as well.

"He's a guy who is battling for one of those spots," Acta said of Mathis. "Being able to be a flexible guy that could start and could pitch out of the 'pen for multiple innings, that's what pretty much made us go after him."

Mathis is hoping his stay with Cleveland lasts well beyond Spring Training.

"I look at it as, if i can come here and make the team," Mathis said, "maybe I'll be a part of something for the next three, four or five years. Who knows?"

Durbin still working into spring shape

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As his offseason stretched into late February, Chad Durbin did what he could to simulate a Spring Training routine while working out at home in Louisiana. It proved difficult for the recently-signed Indians reliever.

"Unless you're in cleats for four hours before you actually do something," Durbin said, "then there's no way to simulate it. My wife doesn't want me walking around the house like that. The hardwood floors don't react well."

On Tuesday morning, Durbin was finally able to go through a normal game routine -- spikes and all. The right-hander made his Spring Training debut, working one shutout inning in a "B" game against the Reds at Cleveland's player development complex.

The 33-year-old Durbin finished with two strikeouts and was all smiles after his first game action. Durbin said that Indians pitching coach Tim Belcher informed him he'll likely make his Cactus League debut at home against the Mariners on Friday.

"I felt good," said Durbin, who posted a 3.62 ERA out of the Phillies' bullpen over the past three seasons. "I was just worried about pounding the zone this early, making sure the ball feels OK in your hand and you don't rush out."

Crowe still dealing with shoulder issue

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Trevor Crowe's right shoulder injury has been an issue since well before Spring Training began. On Tuesday, the Indians outfielder noted that the rotator cuff soreness was a problem throughout most of last season.

Crowe noted that the shoulder fatigue actually led to the right elbow injury that resulted in arthroscopic surgery in October. Crowe's elbow is back at full strength following the offseason procedure, but his shoulder continues to be a nuissance.

"That's what caused my elbow [injury] -- my shoulder," Crowe said. "One was the product of the other."

After resting for much of the past three weeks, Crowe was re-evaluated by Dr. Mark Schickendantz on Monday. Crowe underwent a strength test and was subsequently cleared to begin swinging a bat without hitting baseballs. Crowe hopes to resume a throwing program later this week or early next week.

"All the tests were positive," Crowe said. "Now, it just depends on how it functions once it gets on the field. I don't think it's good for myself or the Indians to go out there not as close to 100 percent as possible.

"It's such a day to day thing. As an athlete, I try not to look that far ahead, because it gets really frustrating."

Crowe, 27, hit .251 with two home runs and 36 RBIs in 122 games with the Indians last season. The switch-hitter noted that it hurt to swing from both sides of the plate throughout last year. Right now, it seems most likely that Crowe will open this season on the disabled list.

Smoke signals

Third baseman Jason Donald, who was hit on the left hand with a pitch on Saturday, took part in a handful of workout drills on Tuesday morning. Donald played catch, fielded ground balls and hit in the batting cage. Indians manager Manny Acta said Donald would go through a more extensive workout on Wednesday. He will not be available for games until Thursday at the earliest. ... Right-hander Josh Tomlin -- in the mix for the vacant fifth starter's job -- logged three shutout innings in a "B" game against the Reds on Tuesday morning. Tomlin gave up two hits and ended with two strikeouts and one walk. Jeanmar Gomez and David Huff are also vying for the lone rotation vacancy. ... Closer Chris Perez allowed one run on two hits with one strikeout and one walk in one inning in Tuesday's "B" game. Lefty Rafael Perez allowed four runs on four hits with one walk and was lifted from the game before retiring any outs. ... Indians president Mark Shapiro arrived in camp on Monday and took in some of the "B" game on Tuesday. ... Right-handed reliever Hector Ambriz, who will miss this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in October, stopped by the Indians clubhouse to chat with a few teammates on Tuesday morning. Ambriz was in camp to undergo a physical. He said that he began playing catch last week for the first time since his operation. ... Center fielder Michael Brantley (lower half soreness) and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (left elbow soreness) were back in the lineup and in the field on Tuesday after missing four games and two games, respectively. ... Right-hander Carlos Carrasco was back with the team on Tuesday after being with his wife in Florida for the birth of their daughter, Camila. "I'm still in shock," Carrasco said with a smile. The righty is slated to start on Wednesday.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.