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Sizemore back ""on top''

By Sheldon Published: July 16, 2009

CLEVELAND: Grady Sizemore is back where he belongs, at the top of the Indians' lineup. ¶
   Since being activated from the disabled list June 23, Sizemore has usually batted second, initially behind Jamey Carroll then behind Asdrubal Cabrera. ¶
   Now, manager Eric Wedge thinks it's time for Sizemore to return to the place he's batted virtually his entire career. ¶
   ""Leadoff is where Grady has spent most of his career,'' Wedge said Thursday. ""Grady is more comfortable at the top of the lineup; it's his best position. Asdrubal definitely did OK up there, but his game is probably more suited to the two hole.'' ¶
   Though many fans feel that Sizemore should be moved to the No. 3 slot in the lineup to take advantage of his power, there is no denying Sizemore's effectiveness as a leadoff batter, who primary job is to score runs. ¶
   In the four previous seasons, Sizemore has scored at least 100 runs, and in 2006 he led the American League with 134. Because of inflammation in the lining of his left elbow, Sizemore spent more than three weeks on the disabled list, making it unliekely that he'll reach 100 runs this year (he has 40). ¶
   Sizemore's elbow remains an issue, and it's probable that he will need arthroscopic surgery to fully correct the problem. In the meantime, he must be used carefully by Wedge, especially as an outfielder. ¶
   When Wedge was asked if it was a maintenance issue, he said, ""That's a good way to put it. The rest he got on the DL helped, and so did the three day (All-Star) break. Hopefully that will keep him rolling. But we still have to give him certain days off or use him as the DH.'' ¶
   Since coming off the DL, Sizemore is batting .273 with four home runs, 16 RBI and 11 runs in 66 at-bats. His overall average of .235 probably is an indication that he played hurt almost from the outset of the season. ¶
   ""I know the first week off the DL was ciritical for him, and he handled it well,'' the manager said. ""We'll see how he handles the rest of the season without any more breaks.'' ¶
   Even though Sizemore's elbow remains a concern, he started his 16th consecutive game Thursday night. three of them at DH. ¶
   In the second half, Wedge is hoping to have fewer players in and out of the lineup at ever-shifting positions. ¶
    ""I want to try to be more consistent with the lineup,'' he said, adding that stability is his goal. ¶
   ""That's what I always wanted to do,'' Wedge said. ""But you can't put guys in the lineup who are hurt, and some of our guys have (sat out because they've) struggled.'' ¶
   MYSTERY MAN -- When the Indians need a fifth starter for the July 25 game in Seattle, don't look for Fausto Carmona to be the man. ¶
   Manager Eric Wedge said that a call-up from Columbus of Carmona is not out of the question, but that he probably won't be ready to resume his place in the rotation that quickly. ¶
   ""Everything is wide open, so it's a possibility,'' he said. ""But I don't want there to be any hurry about it. Fausto is headed in the right direction, but he has to show some consistency and he hasn't done that yet.'' ¶
   General Manager Mark Shapiro traveled to Columbus to see Carmona's start Thursday night and planned to watch the Clippers for two or three days. ¶
    LEAVE THEM ALONE -- Wedge seems in no hurry to call Rafael Perez and Jensen Lewis back from Triple-A exile. ¶
   ""I think we want to keep letting them pitch down there for awhile,'' the manager said. ¶
   Asked if their numbers was a true indicator of their performance for the Clippers, Wedge said, ""Yes and no. It's a big leap from Triple-A to the big leagues. But I think they're working in the right direction.'' ¶
   Perez has yet to give up a run in eight games (11 innings); Lewis has not allowed a run in five games (nine innings). ¶
   FARM FACTS -- Paolo Espino (2-5, 3.50 ERA) gave up one run and three hits in eight innings, as Kinston defeated Frederick 9-1. Ole Sheldon homered, doubled and singled, driving in four runs; Ricxhard Martinez homered, singled three times and had one RBI, and Lonnie Chisenhall doubled, singled and drove in two runs. *elip Chris Jones (3-2, 4.75 ERA) gave up one earned run (four total) and six hits in six innings, as Lake County lost 11-3 to Asheville. ¶

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