By Matt Snyder
Once one of Major League Baseball's most promising, young stars, Indians' center fielder Grady Sizemore's career has been derailed by injuries. Unfortunately, his luck hasn't changed one bit in 2012.
Friday, Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff told media (including Jordan Bastian of MLB.com) that two weeks ago Sizemore suffered a lower back strain and is "unlikely" for opening day. Sizemore injured himself while fielding ground balls and has been shut down since. There is "no timetable yet for [a] return to baseball drills."
It's hard to not feel bad for the guy, as Sizemore simply can't stay healthy anymore. From 2005-2008, he averaged 160 games played per season. Since then, he's only played in 210 total (an average of 70 per season). His performance has suffered when he's been on the field, too, as Sizemore's OPS from 2009-11 was .728. From 2005-08, it was .868. His stolen base and home run rates have gone down as well.
Last season, Sizemore hit .224/.285/.422 with 10 homers and zero stolen bases in 71 games. He hit free agency, but the Indians brought him back on a one-year, incentive-laden contract.
With Sizemore out of the lineup, the Indians can slide Michael Brantley to center and go with Shelley Duncan, Aaron Cunningham or even Matt LaPorta in left field.
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