GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Grady Sizemore is scheduled to run the bases today, which according to manager Manny Acta, is the final test for the Indians center fielder before he can begin playing in exhibition games.
If Sizemore passes, Acta said the Indians would try to get him into games between March 20-30, not necessarily in big league ones.
“We’re going to try to control it as much as we can,” Acta said. “If it’s going to be something that will alter the game too much, we might do it on the minor league side.”
Sizemore still isn’t expected to be ready for opening day, but he has yet to endure a setback in his recovery from microfracture surgery on his left knee.
When Sizemore is ready to play for real during the regular season, Acta said he would not place limitations on the three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove award winner on the bases.
“I think whenever he’s ready to play, he’s going to have the green light,” Acta said. “Then, it’s up to him about how good he feels about stealing bases. The only thing I can control is the volume of his playing time. I can’t control how much he can steal bases.”
Sizemore averaged 29 stolen bases from 2005-08, but injuries have limited him to just 17 over the past two seasons. Acta doesn’t think it is vital for him to return to the base-stealing threat he has been in the past.
“When it comes to speed and stolen bases, it’s fine if we have the total package,” Acta said, “but I don’t think you’ll hear me complain if he drops 20-30 bombs, even if he doesn’t steal 40.”
Third baseman Jason Donald was scratched from the lineup with lingering soreness in his left hand. He was replaced by Luis Valbuena.
Donald played Thursday and Friday after missing five games when he was hit on the hand by a pitch against the White Sox.
Career shortstop Orlando Cabrera appears to be adapting well to his new position at second base.
“He’s turned some nice double plays and I can see the way he takes infield that he’s almost rounding into shape,” Acta said. “This guy is one of the most fundamentally sound infielders that I’ve ever been around.”
Acta said Cabrera’s worth goes well beyond
“This guy’s got a pretty good idea of what to do at the plate,” Acta said of the career .274 hitter in 14 big league seasons. “He’s one of the best baserunners in the league the last 10 years. He’s one of the most heady players in the big leagues. He’s going to influence these guys.”
Mitch Talbot’s spring has not begun well. In three starts covering 62/3 innings, the right-hander has allowed 14 runs on 15 hits and four walks.
Acta doesn’t seem overly concerned with Talbot’s ineffectiveness.
“It’s spring training. He’s getting ready for the season,” Acta said. “The only thing I’m concerned with is that we’re not able to stretch him out.”
Talbot (0-0, 17.55 ERA) lasted just three innings of a scheduled four-inning outing in his last start Friday. He allowed three runs on five hits.
A 2-0 victory over the Angels on Saturday was the Indians’ first win in eight exhibition games.
* A crowd of 5,004 at Goodyear Ballpark was the largest of the exhibition season.
* The Indians will play a “B” game today against the White Sox in Glendale. RHP Alex White (0-1, 10.80 ERA), Cleveland’s first-round draft choice in 2009, will start.
* Today, 4:05 vs. Padres at Peoria Stadium (Peoria), STO/WMMS 100.7-FM. Carlos Carrasco (0-1, 3.60) vs. RHP Tim Stauffer (0-0, 5.19).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136