Grady Sizemore initially hoped to be back in the Indians’ lineup by now following knee and back surgeries, but instead the center fielder’s rehab was sidetracked several times and now he’s yet to resume running.
Three weeks ago Sizemore vented some of his understandable frustration with yet another slower-than-expected recovery from a major injury, saying: “I can’t even explain it. It’s almost feels like a part of you is missing.”
He also spoke about the importance of taking things slow to avoid further setbacks and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that “there’s still no hint of when or if Sizemore will return” except that it certainly won’t be before the All-Star break.
General manager Chris Antonetti described himself as “still optimistic that Grady will contribute this year” after re-signing with the Indians on a one-year, $5 million contract, but clearly that’s no longer viewed as a sure thing and in the meantime Johnny Damon will continue to play regularly.
With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.
It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.
Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.
Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.