Cleveland Indians' Grady Sizemore Prepares for 2011 MLB Season Debut

Jim McCarthy, Jr.@@JimMcCarthyJrCorrespondent IApril 16, 2011

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Grady Sizemore #24 of the Cleveland Indians poses during their photo day at the Cleveland Indians Spring Training Complex on February 22, 2011 in Goodyear ,Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
Rob Tringali/Getty Images

It has been a long road back to Cleveland for Indians center fielder Grady Sizermore. The former All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner went down with a knee injury on May 16 of last year, which eventually led to season-ending micro-fracture surgery.  After a grueling nine-month rehab, Sizemore is back with the team, poised to get back to doing what he loves.

"I think I'm close," Sizemore told The Plain Dealer. "I feel good. I feel strong. Everything has felt good."

Sizemore was scheduled to take batting practice before Saturday's day game against the Orioles, but held off due to the two-hour rain delay. Many are speculating he will officially be activated on Monday, when the Tribe opens up a four-game set in Kansas City. Manager Manny Acta is excited to get his star center fielder back in the lineup.

"Regardless of what kind of lineup you have, when you add Grady Sizemore to any lineup in America, you're adding to it," Acta said to The Plain Dealer.

The Indians are off to a hot start, going 10-4 to start the season and already have one of the best hitting lineups in the American League. The only question is where Sizemore will place in the order because Michael Brantley has looked very good early on leading off. Brantley is batting .333 out of the Tribe's top spot in the lineup.

"It's tough because the team is swinging well right now," Sizemore said. "I'm sure they don't want to mess with the lineup. Manny knows I'm good with whatever. Whether it's leadoff or somewhere else. I'm sure we'll sit down and go over all this."

One thing is for sure, Sizemore will be playing center field. Brantley has played well in center, but Manager Manny Acta feels Sizemore is their guy when healthy. Either way you look at it, the Indians will have a great outfield trio in Sizemore, Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo.

Many said going into the 2011 MLB season that the future looked bright in Cleveland. Indians fans will tell you the future is now.