By CHRIS ASSENHEIMER
CLEVELAND â€” Grady Sizemore reached another milestone Saturday at Progressive Field.
With his stolen base in the third inning of a 4-2 loss to the Twins, Clevelandâ€™s center fielder became just the third player in club history to hit 25 home runs and steal 25 bases in the same season. He joins Bobby Bonds (1979) and Joe Carter (three times from 1986-88) on the list.
Sizemore, who along with Carter, is the only Indian to reach the century mark in both stolen bases and homers, is bidding to join Carter as the only Cleveland player to reach the 30-30 plateau in a single season. Carter accomplished as much during his fourth year with the Indians in 1987.
Sizemoreâ€™s streak of four seasons with at least 20 homers and 20 steals is longer than any other player in the majors.
Itâ€™s already been a memorable season for Sizemore, who made his third consecutive All-Star team, breaking Kenny Loftonâ€™s franchise record for leadoff homers (5) with six along the way. He is on pace to hit 40 homers and steal 38 bases.
His homer total (25) is second in the American League to Chicagoâ€™s Carlos Quentin (27), while his 25 stolen bases rank sixth in the AL. Sizemore has been successful in 18 of his last 19 stolen base attempts.
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TIMEâ€™S A CHANGING: Only five of the 10 players that took the field for the season opener against the White Sox at Progressive Field are active on the Indiansâ€™ roster. The departed are starting pitcher CC Sabathia, left fielder Jason Michaels, third baseman Casey Blake and injured players Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez. A total of nine players from the 25-man, opening-day roster are either on the disabled list or no longer with the club.
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MARTE MOMENT: One would think Andy Marte, who is expected to finish the season as the starter at third base, was pleased with Blakeâ€™s trade to Los Angeles. Not so. â€œItâ€™s sad to see Casey leave,â€ Marte said. â€œHe was one of the best teammates that we had in this clubhouse.â€ The Indians are in the midst of evaluating Marteâ€™s ability to perform on an every-day basis. He is batting just .192 (20-for-104) with three homers and five RBIs on the season but has hit safely in eight of his last 11 games, hitting .268 (11-for-41) with all of his homers and four RBIs over the span. â€œI think itâ€™s still too early in the process,â€ Wedge said. â€œWeâ€™ve seen some signs offensively and heâ€™s been consistent at third base.â€
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NEXT UP: The Indians continue their homestand with a four-game series against Detroit that begins tonight at 7:05. Paul Byrd (4-10, 5.28) opens the set, opposing LHP Kenny Rogers (8-6, 4.48), while Matt Ginter (1-1, 2.45) starts against RHP Armando Galarraga (8-4, 3.27) Tuesday (7:05). Cliff Lee (14-2, 2.29) is the scheduled starter Wednesday (7:05), while the Tigers counter with LHP Nate Robertson (6-8, 5.63). Fausto Carmona (4-3, 4.33) will make his second start since a two-plus-month stay on the disabled list in the series finale Thursday (12:05). RHP Justin Verlander (8-10, 4.29) is slated to go for Detroit.
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MINOR DETAILS: Triple-A Buffaloâ€™s David Huff, the 39th overall pick in the 2006 draft, won his eighth game Saturday, pitching five scoreless innings in a two-hit shutout (4-0) of Charlotte. Huff is a combined 8-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 20 starts for Buffalo and Double-A Akron. â€¦ Recently-promoted outfielder Trevor Crowe hit his first Triple-A home run in the victory in just his second game for the Bisons. Crowe, Clevelandâ€™s first-round draft pick in 2005 (14th overall), hit .323 with four home runs, 28 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 49 games for Double-A Akron. â€¦ The big bounty from the Sabathia trade, Matt LaPorta, was batting just .208 (10-for-48) with a homer and six RBIs in 13 games for the Aeros through Saturday. He had struck out 10 times and committed one error in the outfield.
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ROUNDINâ€™ THIRD: Outfielder Ben Francisco is hitless in his last 11 at-bats, batting just .152 (5-for-33) over his last nine games. â€¦ Sizemore was in the lineup but as the designated hitter, starting at the position for the third time this season. He has started 100 of 102 games, 97 of them in center field. â€¦ The Indians announced that they had reached the two-million mark in tickets sold for the 14th time in franchise history. They didnâ€™t reach that total until Aug. 12 of last year. Despite falling out of contention, the team is still drawing fans, with a three-game total of 100,464 for the weekend series against Minnesota.
Assenheimer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-329-7137.
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