Grady Sizemore won’t be back in the Indians’ lineup this month, but the oft-injured center fielder has been cleared to resume baseball activities following sports hernia surgery on July 21 and is optimistic about returning at some point in September.
In addition to the surgery Sizemore is also recovering from ongoing knee problems, but has advanced to playing catch, hitting off a tee, and running on an “anti-gravity treadmill” that simulates different body weights and “reduces stress on a runner’s legs,” according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
Sizemore sat out 56 games in 2009 and 129 games in 2010, and has already missed 57 games this season, so by the time he returns in September he’ll have played in just 200 of the past 460 or so games. With the Indians holding an $8.5 million team option or $500,000 buyout for 2012 the impact of his comeback goes beyond the September push for a division title.
Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.
According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.
It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.
The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.