Sizemore sidelined ... again

BY foxsports • March 2, 2012

It could be worse for the Cleveland Indians.
They could have traded for a starting pitcher and then watched him bunt a baseball off his face and fracture an orbital bone.
Who expects that?
Then again, who expects Grady Sizemore to show up with a back injury that needs surgery?
Oh … Sizemore … never mind.
At this point the better question with the one-time phenom/superstar/best player in baseball is what he hurts next. Wrist. Both knees. Stomach. Back. Is the elbow next? The ribs? Perhaps the ulnar nerve? Will Vegas post odds on the very subject?
The latest news that Sizemore will be out two or three months makes it easy to target the Indians.
How could they not have expected this? How could they take the chance with this guy who has now had six surgeries since late 2009? How could they give him that $5 million deal? How could they not sign Prince Fielder?
That’s all easy to say now – except the Fielder part. But go back and ask if  it was wiser to take a chance on a known quantity like Sizemore with injury risk, or on another guy who is not as talented.
“We understood there was some risk at the time we signed him,” GM Chris Antonetti said.
Sort of like Noah understood things were going to get a little damp.
The team decreed it was worth the risk, and when they did there was no movement to cancel season ticket purchases. It doesn’t look good now, but what if Sizemore does indeed return in mid-May and hits .280 with 70 RBI?
Yes, it’s just as fair to ask if winged centaurs will invade Lower Slobbovia, but you get the idea.
For quite some time it seemed like Sizemore’s constant injuries were merely bad luck.
“Obviously this guy can’t catch a break over the last couple years,” said manager Manny Acta.
But this year he couldn’t even catch a ground ball – that’s how he hurt his back, fielding ground balls while preparing for spring training.
When he played he was really good – though never as great as Sports Illustrated made him out to be when they put him on the cover a few years back.
He was aggressive, he got on base and he played a ferocious center field.
That might be part of the Indians thinking. They’ve seen Sizemore at his best, so the belief will always be out there that he can be that player again. They decided it was better to risk the injury and have him on the roster for $5 million than to have someone else – even though Sizemore missed more games the past three seasons than he played.
At this point, it seems time to say it might not be bad luck but a body that simply could not take the daily grind his effort put into the game. Sizemore plays all-out, and he’s paid the price for going all-out.
The latest mishap resulted in a “minimally invasive” procedure on a disc in his back. Go have any procedure on a disc in the back and come back and say it’s “minimally invasive.” In the world of surgery, maybe, but in the world of athletics any surgery on the back is serious stuff. And a problem. It’s really like the old “minor surgery” term. There is no such thing.
At this point it’s time for the Indians to stop considering Sizemore one of their core players. The lament often last season was that Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera were not on the field together.
This season Choo is back, but Sizemore won’t be for another two months.
Anything Sizemore gives the team should from this point be considered a bonus, a find, an addition. Because he’s just hurt too much.
All this leaves center field to Micheal Brantley, with a bunch of guys competing in left.
Russ Canzler seems to have the best chance to earn the spring training shooting star award.
From Sizemore to Canzler.
From Carmona to Hernandez.
From Perez to Pestano.
From here to eternity.
So it goes so far for the Indians. And the best, the absolute best, the rose-colored-glasses/glass-is-half-full view is they’re getting the bad stuff out of the way early. Go hang your hopes on that one.


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