Grady Sizemore could make spring debut this weekend

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Grady Sizemore’s status for Opening Day remains uncertain, but Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that the center fielder could be cleared to make his spring training debut as soon as this weekend.

However, general manager Chris Antonetti stressed that seeing his first game action doesn’t necessarily mean Sizemore will be ready to begin the season on the active roster, saying:

With Grady we’ll have to see how well he progresses, how well his body responds, and how quickly he’s able to build up to that volume. I don’t think it will be very long until he can go play one nine-inning game. It’s a question of how long will it take for him to play five or six consecutive nine-inning games. We want to activate him when he’s ready to contribute on a consistent basis. Now, exactly how many days a week that will be, I’m not quite sure. But I don’t think anyone is looking for Grady to come up and play one or two days a week.”

Sizemore ran the bases Sunday for the first time since undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee in June and as recently as a few weeks ago the consensus seemed to be that he wouldn’t be ready until mid-April.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”