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MINNEAPOLIS — Grady Sizemore’s hard-nosed style of play could be coming with a price for the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians placed their center fielder back on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a bruised right knee. It’s his third stint on the DL this season, and sixth of his career. Sizemore was sent back to Cleveland to have tests done on his knee before making any estimates about how much time he will miss this time around.
“The way he plays and the way he goes about his business, he goes hard after it,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “You’ve got to respect that. He’s not going to be taking it easy just to get healthy.”
The bruise on his kneecap has bothered Sizemore for much of the season. He initially hurt it on May 11 when he made a hard slide into second base. But it is not the same knee that kept him out for most of last season with microfracture surgery.
“You can’t program yourself to not play hard when you’re a guy like Grady,” Acta said. “You guys see how he throws himself around in the outfield and dives for balls and stuff. You can’t ask a guy like him to take it easy and not play the way he plays.”
The Indians recalled right-hander David Huff from Triple-A Columbus to make the spot start for the day game of Monday’s doubleheader against the surging Minnesota Twins. The 26-year-old Huff is 8-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 17 starts for the Clippers.
Sizemore joins a swollen disabled list in Cleveland that includes outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Trevor Crowe and infielder Jason Donald. It’s tough timing for the Indians, who start a critical four-game series against the Twins with a five-game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central division.
Sizemore is hitting .237 this season with 21 doubles, 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 61 games for the Indians, who have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball and were tied atop the division with Detroit when the day started. But his numbers don’t tell the whole story about Sizemore’s importance to the Tribe.
“He’s frustrated. He’s a guy who really takes it hard when he’s not out there with his guys,” Acta said. “You’ve got to have a lot of respect for the guy. He plays through pain all the time. He’s done that over the last three years, pretty much, here. It is very hard for him not to be out there with his teammates. And it’s hard for us, too.
“He’s an important part of our team, our clubhouse. Everybody has their problems, so we’re just going to have to deal with it.”
Ezequiel Carrera will get most of the time in center field in Sizemore’s absence, with Austin Kearns and Travis Buck platooning in right field.