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Grady Sizemore keeps making manager's decision difficult

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  March 19, 2014 04:51 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. Grady Sizemore played Wednesday afternoon in what should be the first of back-to-back games for him. Along with games on March 10 and 11, this will be the second time this spring hes played on consecutive days.

On a back field at the Red Sox' spring training complex, Sizemore started in center field and led off, going 3-for-4 with a double playing for Triple-A Pawtucket against an Orioles squad. The only fielding opportunity he got was on a double hit into the right-center gap. He played seven innings in the field Wednesday and is scheduled to play a full nine innings Thursday against the Yankees.

Whether or not he is on the Red Sox squad that heads north at the end of camp remains to be seen. The adage is that baseball evaluators like when players make their decisions difficult. Sizemore, 31, who has been away from baseball for more than two years because of injuries, is doing that for the Red Sox.

He is, said manager John Farrell. Difficult relative to his situation. And wed like to have a crystal ball. When we signed Grady and brought him in, we knew there was going to be a number of questions to be answered. Hes answering some of those. We also look at it from a big picture perspective and what gives us the best possibility to have a productive player over the long run.

Sizemores workload is expected to intensify soon. After Thursday, he will have Friday off, and then could play three days in a row.

Sizemore is happy with how hes been feeling. His timing at the plate and reactions in the field are coming back.

Its getting better and better, he said. I feel like each game I get little bit more comfortable and just trying to continue to see pitches and have good at bats."

He has yet to attempt a stolen base, though.

Its not a huge thing for me, he said. I feel good running. I think honestly its just one of those things when it comes to me Im going to maybe make some attempts, but right now its just more kind of getting the legs in shape. Im not too worried about steals right now. I feel good at full speed its just kind of the other stuff I want to focus on right now.

Weve put him in motion a couple of times already, Farrell said. But to say that were going to absolutely turn him loose with the green light, well try to continue to ramp up his volume before we do anything situationally that might be different than what weve gone through right now. But at a point in time, and hopefully in the near future, that all becomes react to the game.

Weve seen every other phase of his game be natural and second nature to him. Hes advanced on a ball in the dirt, put him in motion on 3-2 counts. So theres no hesitation on him sliding or anything like that. So, so far, so good.

For Sizemore there have been some surprises along the way.

A little bit, he said. I didnt know how the body was going to hold up on a day-to-day [basis], if I was going to be able to push it every day. And so far its allowed me to just kind of keep upping the volume and pushing the intensity and I still dont feel like Ive reached that ceiling where I went too far. So, as long as Im there Im happy.

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