CLEVELAND — It wasn’t triumphant, but Grady Sizemore made his return Monday for the opening game of a pivotal series against the Tigers.
Sizemore, out since July 18 after sustaining a right knee contusion and undergoing sports hernia surgery, was activated from the disabled list and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Indians’ 4-2 loss.
The oft-injured Sizemore could have used more minor league rehab time, but with the Indians still in the Central Division race, the potential lift he can provide was required for a depleted lineup.
“It’s exciting to have him back,” manager Manny Acta said. “We understand that in any other normal situation, he could probably use more time down there. But we’re not in any type of normal situation.
“He said that he was ready to go, and this was the best he was going to feel going forward.”
Sizemore played in three rehab games with Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, going 4-for-11 with an RBI. He is hitting .233 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs in 62 games for the Indians this season, landing on the DL three times already.
“I think I saw enough pitches down there,” Sizemore said. “It doesn’t matter how many games you play down there. It’s tough to simulate what it’s like up here.”
There were no instances in the field for Sizemore, who played center and hit leadoff, but he did look rusty at the plate, being thrust into a pennant race at a key spot in the lineup.
“It’s tough coming back no matter where you’re at in the season,” Sizemore said. “You haven’t played in games. But I felt good out there. There’s going to be an adjustment the first couple games, but my body felt good.”
- Designated hitter Travis Hafner took batting practice for the third straight day and is expected to test his ailing right foot with agility drills this week. The Indians feared Hafner was lost for the year but got encouraging news after a recent examination and expect him to return this season.
- Acta said he expects second baseman Jason Kipnis (right hamstring strain) to return sometime this week. Kipnis has been sidelined for close to a month.
- Shin-Soo Choo (left oblique strain) took batting practice but is still not eligible to leave the injured list until Monday.
- Both Columbus and High-A Kinston will open their respective playoff series Wednesday. Columbus, which owns the International League’s best record (88-55 through Sunday) and won the West Division title, will begin its best-of-five series at Durham. Kinston, which clinched the Carolina League Southern Division second-half title Sunday (76-61), starts its best-of-five series at Myrtle Beach.
- Second baseman Jason Donald hit safely for the 10th time in 11 games, going 1-for-2 with a single and scoring the Indians’ first run in the fifth inning. Donald is batting .364 (16-for-44) with a homer and three RBIs over the span.
- Fans got some added entertainment with a number of the planes from the Cleveland National Air Show at Burke Lakefront Airport passing over Progressive Field.
- The Indians are offering $5 tickets tonight for all upper-deck seats.