The Cleveland Indians activated Grady Sizemore from the 15 day disabled list on Friday. After retroactively placing him there early last week, Sizemore was eligible to come off just in time for the Tribe's road trip to Tampa Bay. The Indians optioned weekend hero Ezequiel Carrera to Columbus to make room.
Sizemore tested himself running the bases on Wednesday and Manny Acta seemed to lean towards Sizemore being ready for action "at some point" during the weekend. Some point will in fact be Friday. The club will be easing him into action, as he is the Designated Hitter in Friday's lineup.
What's newsworthy here is the fact that Sizemore isn't hitting leadoff and he isn't hitting third or fourth. Sizemore has been dropped all the way to sixth, even with Shin-Soo Choo receiving a day off and Carlos Santana hitting behind him at seventh. Friday's lineup looks as such:
CF Michael Brantley (L)
2B Orlando Cabrera (R)
SS Asdrubal Cabrera (S)
LF Shelley Duncan (R)
1B Matt LaPorta (R)
DH Grady Sizemore (L)
C Carlos Santana (S)
RF Austin Kearns (R)
3B Jack Hannahan (L)
Sizemore and Santana are not the only hitters in new spots. Manny Acta has shuffled the lineup in a big way, putting Asdrubal Cabrera into the three-spot with Shin-Soo Choo given the day off. Orlando Cabrera has taken his spot in the two-spot and Matt LaPorta is hitting fifth. Michael Brantley looks to be holding onto the lead off spot long term, as he remains in the spot he took over when Sizemore went down a few weeks ago.
It will be interesting to see how the lineup shakes out when Choo returns on Saturday. You can assume that some of the changes are because Sizemore is returning without a rehab assignment and may need eased back in to get his timing down and Choo is being given the day off. But based off Acta's comments about Santana the other day, the move down for Carlos may be permanent for the foreseeable future.
Santana has been struggling to hit the ball. He's still productive, knocking in a good amount of runs and he is still finding his way on base with the walk. But he is having noticeable struggles connecting, especially since Travis Hafner was placed on the disalbed list.
I made a plea for Acta to put Sizemore down in the order, perhaps to protect Santana or even move Santana down. Acta's shakeup certainly is one that will attempt to do that. But if Shelley Duncan is going to be hitting clean-up and Orlando Cabrera will be hitting second that could present some problems. Hopefully Acta's move is just for today and is a result of Choo being sat down. This lineup needs a strong middle and they won't be getting that with Friday's lineup.
Do you keep Sizemore lower in the lineup, but move him up after a few games? Or is it only a matter of time before he returns to the first spot in the order? And, is Asdrubal Cabrera the new number three hitter?
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