Grady Sizemore was shut down for the rest of the season over the weekend. And while the Indians initially described the decision as a precautionary measure, today’s update from team trainer Lonnie Soloff is somewhat concerning.
According to the Associated Press, Sizemore will have his right knee examined by Dr. Richard Steadman on Monday in Colorado. This is significant because Steadman is the same doctor who performed microfracture surgery on Sizemore’s left knee in June of last year.
“I think we’re going out there just to get another opinion on his knee,” Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said. “What course of action puts Grady in the best possible position to play and perform next year?”
“We’re going out there just with Grady’s best interests in mind, short-term and long-term,” Soloff said. “I think we’re open to (Steadman’s) assessment and his recommendation. … I think that his expertise is what you seek.”
Sizemore was limited to just 71 games this season, batting .224/.285/.422 with 10 home runs, 32 RBI, zero stolen bases and a .706 OPS over 295 plate appearances. The 29-year-old center fielder didn’t make his season debut until mid-April following surgery and then suffered a bone bruise in his right knee and a sports hernia on a slide into second base in May. He served three separate stints on the disabled list this season.
Sizemore is in the final guaranteed year of a six-year, $23.45 million contract. The Indians will soon have to make a decision about whether to pick up his $8.5 million option for 2012 or pay a $500,000 buyout, which will make him a free agent for the first time in his career.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.