Grady Sizemore will return to Cleveland today, starting in centerfield, as well as leading off. To make room on the roster, starter Mitch Talbot will be placed on the 15-day DL, in a bit of a surprising move.
It was believed that Travis Buck would be sent down since he has an option left, but he gets a temporary reprieve. Talbot is officially out with a strained right elbow, and likely won't be back until the middle of May.
On May 16, 2010, Grady Sizemore was hitting .211 without a home run, and with a deplorable .271 OBP. It would be the last game he'd play with the Indians in 2010. Sizemore went on the DL with a sore knee, which turned into something a bit more serious. After microfracture surgery, Grady was done for the season, and thought to be out six to nine months.
Fast-forward nearly a year.
Sizemore is currently wrapping up a stint with the Indians' top two minor league affiliates. Grady's combined statistics are fairly impressive. He's batting a sizzling .353, with an OBP up to Grady standards—and then some—at .450. He has six hits (two doubles, a homer and three singles) and a 1.097 OPS. Granted, our cross-section of games is only five games old, but compared to last season, these are surely re-assuring numbers. Grady played all five games in center, without making an error.
So, what does this mean for the Tribe's centerfielder? It means exactly what you think it does.
With Sizemore apparently fit and healthy for the first time in over a year, the Tribe management is set to bring him back up to the big league club. It's unknown how much he'll play, but Manny Acta has already placed him back in center, and back in his familiar lead-off roll.
Both positions are currently owned by one Michael Brantley, who has done a tremendous job in his stead this season. Brantley is currently hitting .333, with seven runs scored and two stolen bases, in only 13 games. He's played center in all 13 appearances, and in 36 chances, he has only made one error. Brantley will officially move to left field, as well as move down in the order to make room for the Indians former All-Star.
Sizemore has already said that he couldn't care less where he bats, as long as it's somewhere where he'd be productive. Might Manny Acta play around with the lineup while the Indians are torrid hot to start the season, or will he just pop Sizemore back in, and let Brantley force his way onto the club?
Either way, it's a good problem to have.