Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Grady Sizemore hasn't played an MLB game since 2011.
Several familiar faces are beginning their road to recovery before the real games begin.
Those punished for their Biogenesis involvement will also return to the limelight in hopes of seeking redemption. The artist still known as Ryan Braun leads the way, and he’s off to a hot start after belting two homers during the first week.
A few weeks of exhibition games will not answer the question of how Braun, Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera (among others) will perform without performance-enhancing drugs, but a fast start would dispel fears of erosion after time off.
Don’t forget all the big names whose health would give their clubs a major boost. Corey Hart and Mark Teixeira look rusty, but that’s what spring training is for. This is the time for them to assimilate to big league pitching after several months of inactivity.
Then there’s the man who once said he felt cheated out of an MVP trophy by Braun, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). Matt Kemp played just 73 games last year, and a different injury to a different body part popped up whenever he looked to be in the clear. He made his spring debut Wednesday, giving him a chance to play in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first game in the United States.
Every year also presents some intriguing comeback stories. This time around, Michael Pineda hopes to pitch in the majors for the first time since 2011, while Grady Sizemore will look to see how many people he can get to say, “Hey, remember Grady Sizemore? Apparently he’s trying to come back.”
The 31-year-old outfielder has not made a significant impact since hitting 33 homers and stealing 38 bases in 2008. From 2006 to 2008, Sizemore accrued a 21.1 fWAR, the third-highest mark among position players over that stretch. The former star is looking to crack a spot with the Boston Red Sox, who watched Jacoby Ellsbury join their rivals in the Bronx.