FORT MYERS, Fla. – Grady Sizemore played Wednesday afternoon in what should be the first of back-to-back games for him. Along with games on March 10 and 11, this will be the second time this spring he’s played on consecutive days.
On a back field at the Red Sox’ spring training complex, Sizemore started in center field and led off, going 3-for-4 with a double playing for Triple-A Pawtucket against an Orioles squad. The only fielding opportunity he got was on a double hit into the right-center gap. He played seven innings in the field Wednesday and is scheduled to play a full nine innings Thursday against the Yankees.
Whether or not he is on the Red Sox squad that heads north at the end of camp remains to be seen. The adage is that baseball evaluators like when players make their decisions difficult. Sizemore, 31, who has been away from baseball for more than two years because of injuries, is doing that for the Red Sox.
“He is,” said manager John Farrell. “Difficult relative to his situation. And we’d like to have a crystal ball. When we signed Grady and brought him in, we knew there was going to be a number of questions to be answered. He’s answering some of those. We also look at it from a big picture perspective and what gives us the best possibility to have a productive player over the long run.”
Sizemore’s workload is expected to intensify soon. After Thursday, he will have Friday off, and then could play three days in a row.
Sizemore is happy with how he’s been feeling. His timing at the plate and reactions in the field are coming back.
“It’s getting better and better,” he said. “I feel like each game I get little bit more comfortable and just trying to continue to see pitches and have good at bats.”
He has yet to attempt a stolen base, though.
“It’s not a huge thing for me,” he said. “I feel good running. I think honestly it’s just one of those things when it comes to me I’m going to maybe make some attempts, but right now it’s just more kind of getting the legs in shape. I’m not too worried about steals right now. I feel good at full speed it’s just kind of the other stuff I want to focus on right now.”
“We’ve put him in motion a couple of times already,” Farrell said. “But to say that we’re going to absolutely turn him loose with the green light, we’ll try to continue to ramp up his volume before we do anything situationally that might be different than what we’ve gone through right now. But at a point in time, and hopefully in the near future, that all becomes react to the game.
“We’ve seen every other phase of his game be natural and second nature to him. He’s advanced on a ball in the dirt, put him in motion on 3-2 counts. So there’s no hesitation on him sliding or anything like that. So, so far, so good.”
For Sizemore there have been some surprises along the way.
“A little bit,” he said. “I didn’t know how the body was going to hold up on a day-to-day [basis], if I was going to be able to push it every day. And so far it’s allowed me to just kind of keep upping the volume and pushing the intensity and I still don’t feel like I’ve reached that ceiling where I went too far. So, as long as I’m there I’m happy.”