Grady Sizemore didn’t win the Boston Red Sox’s center field job with Tuesday’s two-run homer. But the 31-year-old certainly added to his case.
Sizemore, who is scheduled to play three games in a row this week, launched a two-run blast over the right field wall in the sixth inning Tuesday to propel the Red Sox to a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. The home run was Sizemore’s first in a game since July 15, 2011, and it further validated that the veteran’s comeback attempt is for real.
“I feel good, and I’m happy with just how everything’s gone in such a short period,” Sizemore told reporters in Port Charlotte, Fla., after Tuesday’s win. “I didn’t expect to feel this good or to feel this comfortable so soon, so I’m happy with that aspect, obviously. I definitely feel comfortable the more I’m out there, the more I play. …
“It’s still kind of like a normal spring training where you’re trying to get that last bit of conditioning in. I feel good during each game, I feel good after the game, but it’s one of those things where you have normal muscle soreness. It’s just kind of working through that and continuing to get the conditioning you get from playing in the game.”
Sizemore, who went 1-for-4 on Tuesday, is hitting .303 (10-for-33) with a .324 on-base percentage in 34 spring training plate appearances. He surprisingly has displayed good timing at the plate, and Tuesday’s blast — his first in a Red Sox uniform — showed an uptick in power could be coming.
“The way we’ve seen the ball come off the bat almost a week at a time, starting from before camp opened up to the live BP to game action, you’re seeing it more and more, and I think he’s starting to get into his legs a little bit more at the plate,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Sizemore, who hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2011 because of knee and back injuries, eclipsed the 20-homer mark — including 33 in 2008 — each season from 2005 to 2008, so he certainly possesses some pop. Sizemore still must show he’s physically ready to produce on an everyday basis, but all signs continue to be encouraging.
Photo via Twitter/@JoeGiza