Grady Sizemore is hoping to be ready by Opening Day

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Indians’ center fielder Grady Sizemore had microfracture surgery last June and lost the season. The hope at the time was that he’d be ready for spring training. Buster Olney caught up with Sizemore and writes about it in today’s column.  Sizemore is just now starting to hit off a tee and easing into running.  The thinking now — still optimistic — is that he’ll be good to go by Opening Day.  Buster wonders what happens if Sizemore returns to form:

If Sizemore comes back and is a star again, a whole lot of logical questions will follow: Because Sizemore’s current contract has a 2012 option for $8.5 million, would it make sense for the Indians to pick up the option? Would it make sense for them to trade him, in their effort to rebuild their pitching?

Is there a single thing the Indians have done in the past two years that makes you think that they’d pick up Sizemore’s option, regardless of how he plays? If he’s great they’ll try to trade him.  If they can’t trade him, they’ll decline the option. Sizemore isn’t going to make the current Indians squad into a winner on his own. He’s popular, but not so much so that he’s going to double attendance or anything.

At a time when the Tribe has a free agent budget of less than $2 million, as was reported last week, they will almost certainly do anything they can to avoid paying $8 million to someone in 2012.

Report: Dodgers, Orioles to complete Manny Machado trade

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The Orioles and Dodgers are expected to finally complete involving SS/3B Manny Machado, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Orioles will receive five prospects from the Dodgers. We’ll have more details about the other players involved later.

Machado, 26, is in the final year of his contract, so this is currently a rental for the first-place Dodgers. Machado ended the first half batting .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs, 65 RBI, 48 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 413 plate appearances. In Los Angeles, he will handle shortstop, allowing Chris Taylor to move over to second base.