Indians bring back Fausto Carmona, cut loose Grady Sizemore

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Fausto Carmona will stay with Cleveland in 2012 after the team exercised his $7 million option, but the Indians made Grady Sizemore a free agent by choosing a $500,000 buyout rather than pay him $8.5 million following another injury wrecked season.

Once upon a time Sizemore was one of the best young players in baseball and the Indians’ biggest long-term building block, but he hasn’t been productive since 2009 and hasn’t been healthy and productive since 2008.

During the past two seasons he’s missed 220 of a possible 324 games while hitting just .220 with a .659 OPS and knee injuries cast some doubt on his ability to be an asset in center field at age 29. I’ll be interesting to see if any teams are willing to risk offering him more than a one-year deal, because had Sizemore been a free agent a few years ago $100 million offers would’ve piled up.

Carmona failed to build on a strong 2010, going 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA in 32 starts, but the Indians aren’t ready to cut ties with the 28-year-old right-hander and he’d likely have had little trouble securing a multi-year deal on the open market.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.