Cleveland Indians

Grady Sizemore Backs Out of World Baseball Classic

Dan WadeSenior Analyst IFebruary 27, 2009

Team USA's outfield—already weakened by injuries, dropouts, and the birth of Nick Markakis' first child—took another blow today as Grady Sizemore pulled out, citing injury concerns.

Sizemore had been monitoring the health of his strained left groin, and after two spring training games, he didn't feel like pushing it at full-tilt so early in the season.

Team USA can replace Sizemore before the games begin, though finding someone that can replace Sizemore both offensively and defensively will be difficult. Curtis Granderson was slated to split time with Sizemore, but he'll now take over the starting job full-time.

Possible replacements for Grady include Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury, Los Angeles' Torii Hunter, and Los Angeles' Matt Kemp.

Of these three possible replacements, Ellsbury is the best choice. Hunter's skills are fading, and Ellsbury is better defensively than Kemp.

Like Sizemore, Ellsbury could lead off and anchor the outfield defense. Although he lacks Sizemore's power, Ellsbury would be the most skillful replacement.

The question becomes—will the Red Sox allow their center fielder of the future out of camp in only his second major league season?

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