Farrell on Sizemore: Context is needed

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Grady Sizemore is one of the best stories of spring training. After not playing for the last two seasons because of injuries, the former All-Star center fielder is showing signs that he could be a viable major leaguer again.

Sox manager John Farrell was the player development director with the Cleveland Indians when Sizemore was coming up. The player he sees now is “not far off” from Sizemore in his prime.

But that’s only after four games and 12 plate appearances.

“You temper that past impression because of what he’s endured and the physical challenges that he’d had to overcome,” Farrell said. “What has stood out this spring is his timing at the plate. You would think it would have needed a greater number of at-bats to have the timing that he’s showing right now. That’s extremely encouraging.

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“That’s the one thing that has stood out. Through our medical exam prior to signing him we felt he was a good bet and had every opportunity to get on the field and maintain that. Now to what level of games played, we don’t know that.”

Farrell, while thrilled to see Sizemore playing well, is doing his best to tamp down expectations.

“Everything has been very positive about him in camp. He’s also missed two years and we temper the excitement with that,” the manager said. “Even if he wasn’t coming off the number of challenges that he’s met physically, when you have a two-year gap if he came in with no restrictions you’d have to say, ‘OK, what is the likely number of games a player with this path could give us?’ We’ve got to keep all that in perspective.”

Farrell said Sizemore’s strong camp isn’t a negative for Jackie Bradley Jr.

“The fact that Grady’s having encouraging signs in spring training is a not a bad thing for Jackie Bradley or anybody,” he said. “It means that we’ve got another good player. We feel strongly that one of the main reasons we were successful last year was a talented and deep roster. Grady gives us the potential to build another talented and deep roster.”