BOSTON (CBS) — Grady Sizemore has been turning heads all spring down in Fort Myers, and there’s a very good chance he not only makes the Red Sox opening day roster, but is Boston’s starting center fielder when the season gets underway in less than two weeks.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak for his weekly chat on Tuesday, and said everyone who has watched Sizemore this spring is very impressed with the 31-year-old’s comeback after battling a vast array of injuries the last three years.
“He has really performed admirably, and it’s hard not to think of 2006-2008 when you see him play,” said Heyman, remembering the years when Sizemore was a 30-30 threat in Cleveland (he accomplished the feat in 2008). “I was only in Tampa for a couple of days, but the people who have been there all spring have been extremely impressed offensively, defensively — any way you can be impressed.”
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“He’s getting treatment every day, being cautious about it because he’s been disappointed so many times before,” said Heyman. “He says he feels rusty, but I don’t think he looked rusty at all. I think he gets the job.”
While Sizemore has looked good in the small spring sample, the fact remains that he hasn’t played baseball in two-and-a-half years. After multiple knee and back surgeries, can Boston really rely on him to be an every-day player?
“I think they feel they have to be pretty cautious with him – that’s part of the equation,” said Heyman. “They’re going to have to think about how they’re going to back him up. They’re fortunate to have (Shane) Victorino, so they don’t have to keep Jackie Bradley Jr. just to back (Sizemore) up. He can go down to the minors and play every day.
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“It’s very difficult to predict because he hasn’t been in the big leagues since 2011. He’s been hurt to varying degrees since 2009, so to say he is going to play 140 games is a stretch,” said Heyman. “To say 120 games might be somewhat optimistic. But when he plays, he’s going to play well.”
“We’re going to see a very good player, if healthy,” said Heyman.
Heyman also touches on Jose Iglesias’ bad shins, the market for Stephen Drew, and what will be different in the MLB’s opening series in Australia: