Grady Sizemore batting leadoff in return from disabled list

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Grady Sizemore is back from the disabled list following a brief minor-league rehab assignment and in the Indians’ lineup today for the first time since July 17, leading off against the Tigers.

Sizemore was initially placed on the DL with a right knee contusion and then underwent sports hernia surgery while sidelined, missing a total of 44 games while the Indians went 21-23 in his absence and fell from a first-place tie in the AL Central to 6.5 games behind the Tigers.

He also missed three weeks with similar knee problems in May and Sizemore hit just .214 with a .289 on-base percentage and .377 slugging percentage in 43 games between DL stints. He’ll try to help the Indians stay in the playoff picture and with the team holding an $8.5 million option or $500,000 buyout for 2012 he’s also playing for his future in Cleveland.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.