GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Taking a patient approach to baseball has never been one of Grady Sizemore's strong points.
The Cleveland Indians center fielder has made a name for himself as a player who flies around the bases and slams into walls chasing fly balls. That's a major reason he's been one of the most exciting players in baseball and has made the All-Star team three times.
As Sizemore recovers from microfracture knee surgery that was performed last June, he knows he has no choice but to be patient. As the Indians held their first full-squad workout of spring training Sunday, Sizemore was on his own program with the goal to be ready for opening day.
"It's hard, but it's been such a long rehab," Sizemore said. "I'm not looking to push anything and make it worse. The whole thing from the surgery was it would be a long recovery. I've been following that and going step by step."
Sizemore has been taking batting practice, throwing and jogging. On Sunday he did light sprints and agility drills in which he moved from side to side for the first time.
"I kept it pretty low intensity, but everything felt good," Sizemore said. "It's not a huge step. I went abut 50 percent. It's another part of the progression."
Sizemore said he was still experiencing soreness and discomfort in his left knee.
"I can definitely tell I had surgery there," he said. "Just walking or running, I'm not feeling zero pain or zero symptoms."
There is no timetable for when Sizemore will resume full baseball activities. He concedes he's taking baby steps and isn't sure precisely what's ahead for him.
"It's going to be a challenge in every part of the game whether it's running or throwing or hitting, running the bases, slowing down and making cuts in the outfield," he said. "Until I get out there, I don't know."
Sunday's rainy weather forced the position players to hit in the indoor batting cages. Temperatures were in the 50s, which could be the conditions in Cleveland when the Indians open the season against the Chicago White Sox on April 1.
"It makes it a little more challenging on the knee when it's that cold, but I didn't notice anything different," Sizemore said. "It's going to be like that when the season starts, so I need to get used to it."
Sizemore hurt the knee while sliding during a spring training game last season. The original diagnosis was a bone bruise, but he aggravated the injury during a slide May 16 against Baltimore. He was placed on the disabled list and had the surgery two weeks later.
Sizemore played in only 33 games and batted .211 last season. He also battled injuries in 2009 when he hit .248 and was limited to 106 games. Sizemore had elbow and groin surgeries after that season.
Manager Manny Acta is holding off on announcing a lineup until he knows if Sizemore is ready to open the season.
"I have to get in the lineup before I worry about where I'm hitting," Sizemore said.