The Indians are off to a fantastic 10-4 start and have provided Major League Baseball’s biggest feel-good story to this point as they sit atop the American League Central standings.
Now they’re about to get a major piece of their starting lineup back.
According to the organization’s official Twitter feed, center fielder Grady Sizemore has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and is batting leadoff on Sunday afternoon against the Orioles.
Sizemore missed the first two weeks of the regular season while in recovery mode from microfracture knee surgery. He’s probably not back to 100 percent quite yet, but his left knee has to be tested at some point and the Tribe feel confident enough that he can contribute right now.
Sizemore spent six days on a minor league rehab assignment, collecting six hits, a home run and four RBI in 17 at-bats between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.
The Indians placed infielder Mitch Talbot on the disabled list with an elbow injury to clear roster space.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.