Grady Sizemore is hoping to be ready by Opening Day

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Indians’ center fielder Grady Sizemore had microfracture surgery last June and lost the season. The hope at the time was that he’d be ready for spring training. Buster Olney caught up with Sizemore and writes about it in today’s column.  Sizemore is just now starting to hit off a tee and easing into running.  The thinking now — still optimistic — is that he’ll be good to go by Opening Day.  Buster wonders what happens if Sizemore returns to form:

If Sizemore comes back and is a star again, a whole lot of logical questions will follow: Because Sizemore’s current contract has a 2012 option for $8.5 million, would it make sense for the Indians to pick up the option? Would it make sense for them to trade him, in their effort to rebuild their pitching?

Is there a single thing the Indians have done in the past two years that makes you think that they’d pick up Sizemore’s option, regardless of how he plays? If he’s great they’ll try to trade him.  If they can’t trade him, they’ll decline the option. Sizemore isn’t going to make the current Indians squad into a winner on his own. He’s popular, but not so much so that he’s going to double attendance or anything.

At a time when the Tribe has a free agent budget of less than $2 million, as was reported last week, they will almost certainly do anything they can to avoid paying $8 million to someone in 2012.

Melvin Upton released by the Giants

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Jon Heyman reports that the Giants have released outfielder Melvin Upton. He requested his release.

Upton, who turned 33 yesterday, signed with San Francisco in early April after the Blue Jays released him. It was a minor league deal. After recovering from a rash of minor injuries, Upton batted .244/.306/.333 in 12 games at Triple-A Sacramento. There was no indication that the Giants were going to call him up. I presume that, back when they signed him, they figured they’d be contending and could maybe use a veteran bat. That’s obviously not the case anymore.

I suppose it’s possible that someone gives Upton a look when rosters expand in eight days, but I figure it’s more likely that we’ll next see him as he fights to make a team on a minor league deal next spring.

Carlos Santana left last night’s game with back tightness

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Andrew Miller leaving last night’s Indians-Red Sox game got all the press, but the Indians lost another key player in the game as well: Carlos Santana. He was forced to leave after going 0-for-3. There was no followup announcement after the game, so he’s likely being reevaluated.

Santana is hitting .250/.355/.446 on the year, but he’s been pretty hot of late, hitting .375 with a couple of homers in the past week.