CLEVELAND — Grady Sizemore is back in Ohio, but it is not to be activated from the disabled list to join the Indians.
Sizemore (microfracture surgery left knee) is scheduled to continue his rehab in minor league games between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus today and Wednesday. Today’s game is in Akron, while the pair of Cleveland minor league affiliates will play in Columbus on Wednesday.
Sizemore has already progressed to playing five innings in center field, and is expected to increase his innings count to a full game before beginning a minor league rehab assignment.
Three of Cleveland’s minor league affiliates — Akron, Columbus and Class A Lake County begin their seasons Thursday, while advanced Class A Kinston opens Friday.
Reliever Joe Smith (strained abdominal) is also scheduled to pitch in both games today and Wednesday. If things go well for Smith, who missed the majority of spring training with the injury, he could be activated to join the Indians’ bullpen.
Sizemore is still on track to join the Indians before May.
Jason Donald (fracture left hand) took dry swings prior to the series finale at Progressive Field and will hit off a tee today.
Donald had a hold on the starting job at third base when training camp began, but the injury and impressive exhibition effort from Jack Hannahan, took him out of the running.
Even when Donald is ready to return, he might stay in the minors (Columbus), with Hannahan off to a fast start in the field and at the plate. The Indians would want Donald to play every day, which would mean they would not add him to the roster as a utility infielder.
First time at first
It was a memorable debut for Carlos Santana, who made the first appearance of his career at first base in the series finale and started a triple play with a diving catch on Alexei Ramirez’s bunt in the fourth inning.
Santana is expected to play first sporadically throughout the season, but Indians manager Manny Acta doesn’t have a set amount of games planned.
“We’re going to see when it’s going to better for him,” Acta said. “It’s going to be about Carlos, when we feel it’s time for him to get out of his (catching) gear.”
Santana seems open to anything.
“I feel comfortable wherever the manager puts me, left field, center or right,” he joked.
It has been a good spring for LHP Drew Pomeranz, the Indians’ first-round draft pick (fifth overall) last year who didn’t allow a run or hit in two big league spring training games — five strikeouts in three innings.
Pitching for advanced Kinston in a game against Akron on Saturday in Goodyear, the 22-year-old Pomeranz didn’t allow a run and just one hit, while striking out six over five innings.
Pomeranz is expected to begin his first professional season at Kinston.
The Indians are off today, continuing their season-opening homestand Tuesday with a three-game series against Boston.
Josh Tomlin makes his season debut in Game 1 (7:05 p.m.), opposing RHP Josh Beckett (first start), while Mitch Talbot (first start) goes against RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (first start) Wednesday (7:05 p.m.).
Fausto Carmona (0-1, 30.00 ERA) starts the series finale Thursday (12:05 p.m.), while the Red Sox counter with LHP Jon Lester (0-0, 8.44).
Former Indian Omar Vizquel was in the lineup for Chicago for the first time in the series.
Vizquel, who starred for Cleveland at shortstop from 1994-2004, went -2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
He scored Chicago’s first run in the third after a base hit in his first at-bat. The hit was the 2,800th career hit for Vizquel, who is in his 22nd season in the majors.
The Indians’ win Sunday snapped a string of seven straight losses to the White Sox at Progressive Field, dating back to the 2010 season. … Becky Minger, Miss Ohio 2010, sang the National Anthem.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.