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.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.